NC fights shy of talking on autonomy
13 October 2000
The Times of India
Law Kumar Mishra
Srinagar: The ruling National Conference (NC) now seems scared of the word ''autonomy'', preferring to remain silent on the issue in the current session of the state legislature.The change in the party''s stance is striking, considering that after the Union Cabinet summarily rejected the state Assembly resolution on autonomy on July 30, the NC had gone to the extent of threatening to withdraw support to the NDA government at the Centre. Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and his colleagues had even toured various parts of the country to campaign against the Centre''s action.Farooq had also announced convening of a conference of CMs here in August to discuss the issue. But now he feels that raising the autonomy demand again is not warranted.But now, the party is silent. Two opposition members - Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami of the CPM and Abdul Rehman Mir of the People''s Democratic Party - tried to raise the issue during zero hour on Friday, but not a single NC member uttered a word on the matter - an issue earlier so dear to them. In fact, the CM left the House when he saw Tarigami rising to his feet.Tarigami had tabled a non-official resolution suggesting that the House convey its displeasure over the Union cabinet''s summary rejection of the July resolution on autonomy. However, the motion could not come up for discussion.A senior minister of the Farooq cabinet, who was actively involved with the autonomy resolution, said the issue had become controversial between the NDA and the NC, and it was not advisable to follow it up further. He hoped the Centre would do some rethinking on the subject after next year''s assembly elections in some states. He regretted that the Centre was in no mood to negotiate on the subject and had not even constituted the promised ministerial committee.An under secretary in the general administration department here informed the members of the House on Friday that a state autonomy committee cell had been created to interact with intellectuals and opinion makers within and outside the state with a view to creating a conducive atmosphere for the proper and balanced understanding of the subject. This is also being seen as a move at not embarrassing the Centre further.Meanwhile, Tarigami alleged that the ruling NC was afraid of confronting the Centre and that its action of creating a hue and cry in July was only a stunt. He said the state government was deliberately not following the subject with the Centre as it would create problems for Farooq''s political survival in the state. The CM had surrendered before the Centre, he alleged.