Polls on mind, NC says Kashmir burning issue

Asks India, Pak to take stakeholders on board for K-resolution; General amnesty likely for stone-pelters; Mandates within a week

Ahead of the Assembly elections slated later this year, the ruling National Conference Wednesday passed a resolution urging India and Pakistan to resolve the “burning issue” of Kashmir by taking all stakeholders on board. 
The resolution was passed during a meeting of the NC’s Central Working Committee here which was chaired by the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who is also the party’s working president.
The NC General Secretary, Ali Muhammad Sagar, confirmed it. “Many resolutions including the one on solving the burning issue of Kashmir was passed during the meeting,” he told Greater Kashmir.
The CWC met here to discuss the Assembly poll strategy.  With eye on the polls, the party-men pressed hard for general amnesty to all stone-pelters which was subsequently agreed to. “A resolution to this effect was also passed, urging the government to give relief to youth booked for law and order disturbances since 2008,” Sagar said. 
Earlier, the NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah had sought general amnesty for the stone-pelters ahead of the polls scheduled to be held in October-November this year.
During the meeting, sources said, Omar vowed to stage a comeback and give the PDP the “fight to remember” in the Assembly elections.
Sagar said the meeting was significant for various reasons. He said the poll debacle was discussed threadbare in the meeting. “We passed another resolution that NC will stand like a rock to protect the State’s special status by virtue of Article 370,” he said. 
He said the party will give a befitting reply to its rivals in the Assembly elections. “Debacles do happen. We will bounce back and we have devised a strategy for that,” Sagar said. 
Asked whether any decision was taken in the meeting about mandates to candidates, Sagar said the directions were passed to the district presidents to come up with three probable candidates within a week. “After that, the party leadership will sit and announce the mandates. By next week, we will be able to finalize things,” he said.
Sources privy to the meeting revealed that a committee was constituted on the directions of Omar Abdullah “to conduct post-mortem of party and suggest remedial measures vis-à-vis its restructuring.”
“The committee will be headed by senior NC leader Muhammad Shafi(Uri). It will submit its report within three months and its recommendations would be implemented in the interest of the party,” sources said.
Meanwhile, in the concluding address, Omar said the CWC is a good forum to deliberate on the issues and express things within the family. “When party is in distress, it is everybody’s duty to put forth constructive criticism. The reason for our debacle was that our workers couldn’t sell the achievements done by us,” Omar said.  
He said no Chief Minister would speak on the political issue on Kashmir the way he did. “I always maintained that political issues need political solution. I even spoke about accession and merger. Mufti Muhammad Sayeed always talked about healing touch,” he said, in a bid to raise the morale of party workers. 

On Mandates: 
Omar said mandates will be given after proper feedback from workers and consensus in relevant forums of the party. “Parliamentary board of the party will meet soon to finalise the mandates so that candidates could start their work on ground,” he said.

Omar stated that the process of slapping PSA on youth was started in 2008 after PDP triggered the Amarnath land row. “2780 cases were registered against the youth of which 1200 were challaned which are sub-judice. Government can’t interfere in the sub-judice issues. 1600 cases against youth are under consideration for some sort of amnesty and the Home department is looking into it,” Omar said. At present 45 youth are behind the bars of which 10 are booked under the Public Safety Act. 

Omar put the ball in the NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah’s court. “Final decision about this would be taken by Dr Farooq after feedback from colleagues and workers, though it is a fact that colleagues are against the idea of pre-poll alliance,” he said.

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