Congress holds out olive branch to PDP

Moots idea of pre-poll alliance, hints ‘goodbye’ to National Conference

Coalition falling apart?

Ahead of Assembly elections slated later this year, Congress has offered its support to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and desired to forge the pre-poll alliance, Greater Kashmir has learnt. The move, which has taken political pundits by surprise, is being seen as the Congress’s ‘goodbye’ to its alliance partner, National Conference. 
A senior Congress leader, who wished not to be identified, confirmed they have offered support to the PDP in forging a pre-poll alliance in the upcoming Assembly elections. “The offer has been conveyed to the PDP leadership and we are waiting for their response,” he said, refusing to elaborate further.  
The PDP leadership however, the sources said, is cold to the idea.
Though the Congress move is seen as a political compulsion following its recent rout in the LokSabha elections, it is also indicating the party’s intent to party ways with National Conference. 
The development comes close on the heels of a marathon meeting between Congress stalwart GhulamNabi Azad and State Congress chief Prof SaifudinSoz in Srinagar yesterday. “The meeting lasted for several hours and the two leaders finalized the poll strategy,” sources said.
Congress insiders disclosed that though the general mood in the party is that Assembly polls must be contested separately, the leadership has kept open the option of forging pre-poll alliance with PDP “to remain in power and also keep the party alive.”
Sources said in the June 16 meeting, Azad and Soz discussed the issue of mandates but the final nod is to be given by the party high command.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, PCC chief Soz said his meeting with Azad lasted for many hours. “We discussed several issues pertaining to the party. We agreed to work together in the larger interests of the party,” Soz said. 
Asked if Congress finalized its candidates, Soz said the process is on.   
Pertinently, the Congress-NC equation is not going well, though leadership of both the parties maintain they “will complete the full term” in the Coalition. 
The PDP swept the LS polls in Kashmir, winning all the three seats—Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag.

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