October 2006 News

Working group on Centre-State ties within a week, says Azad

29 October 2006
The Hindu
Special Correspondent

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Sunday that the Working Group on Centre-State relations would be constituted within a week. In an informal chat with a select group of journalists here, Mr. Azad said four of the five Working Groups, constituted during the second round-table conference in May, had moved forward on their agenda, and their recommendations were being finalised. 'Each and every party has put forth its view on different issues such as economic development, rehabilitation of militancy victims and confidence-building measures.' 'Important group' To a question on why the group on Centre-State relations was yet to be constituted, he said, 'It is an important group, which has to deal with the Constitution, and has various implications even at the international level. So it will certainly take time.' But its head would be appointed within a week, he said. The issue of Centre- State relations was a ticklish one, and it demanded a lot of time as well as deliberations. 'But we are very serious in following what has been decided at the two roundtable conferences.' On the National Conference (NC) pulling out of the Working Groups, he said, 'I do not see much reason in doing so, but we will request them to reconsider the decision.' The Chief Minister denied saying that the Ministers belonging to the People's Democratic Party (PDP) were not cooperating with him. 'I was misquoted. In fact, I had said that in a particular context that too while quoting the former Deputy Chief Minister.' The Congress was very comfortable with the PDP, which was a strong coalition partner. He also denied opposing the self-rule concept floated by the PDP. 'I am not opposed to this idea because every party is free to express its views. But I want that all these proposals or formulas should be discussed in the Working Group, which is being set up for that purpose. They should not be discussed in public because other parties may object to it.'


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