Jubilation in National Conference camp in Jammu and KashmirDecember 28th, 2008 - 4:59 pm ICT by IANS
Srinagar, Dec 28 (IANS) There was jubilation in the National Conference camp as the party emerged as the single largest party in another hung 87-member Jammu and Kashmir assembly.With almost all its stalwarts including patron Farooq Abdullah, president Omar Abdullah, and senior leaders Abdul Rehman Rather, Mian Altaf Ahmad, Ali Muhammad Sagar and Sakina Itoo winning from their constituencies, the much hyped perception that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of Mufti Muhammad Sayeed would end up as the largest single party in the state has been proved wrong.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has won from the south Kashmir Wachi constituency, but the mood in the PDP appeared to be sombre.
PDP’s candidate and former forest minister, Qazi Muhammad Afzal lost to Omar Abdullah in the prestigious Ganderbal constituency giving Omar Abdullah the moral victory of having avenged his defeat of 2002 elections from this constituency.
“We are open to alliance with the Congress and in no case can we think of any alliance with the BJP,” a confident Abdullah told reporters.
Significantly, Abdullah also said the party’s projection of his father Abdullah as the chief ministerial candidate was subject to its ratification by the party’s legislature party.
“I have heard Dr. Sahib’s interview in which he said he would not like to be the chief minister if the voters did not return a clear mandate for the party,” Omar said indicating in a veiled manner that he could well be the future chief minister of the state if an alliance with the Congress was successfully worked out.
The party supporters in Srinagar city where the party won six of the eight seats were jubilant while in Ganderbal the National Conference workers burst fire-crackers after Abdullah’s victory.
Though the Congress has been severely jolted in the Jammu region, with around 15 seats still in its kitty, it would definitely play the role of the king-maker as the former chief minister and senior Congress leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad said in winter capital Jammu.
“The fact that the National Conference has emerged as the largest single party would leave the Congress little choice but side with it and work in alliance with Dr. Abdullah’s party,” a newspaper editor here said.