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Sonia asks Azad to prioritise relief work

Source: PTI
November 02, 2005 22:28 IST
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Congress chief and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday asked Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to continue and build on the policies of his predecessor, Mufti Mohd Sayeed.

"You will have to work for the continuity of policies already in place, and indeed, even enhance them to reach out and protect all the people, particularly those who need it the most," she said in a message of good wishes to Azad, who was sworn in to the top post.

Sonia also urged Azad to 'constantly strive for an effective and conducive working relationship with our coalition patners'. She, however, made it clear that as the new government pursued 'policies of reconciliation, it is of the utmost importance to maintain a constant vigil against the designs of those who seek to perpetrate acts of violence and terror'.

Pointing out that Jammu and Kashmir has 'a special place in our hearts' and 'has been troubled for many years', Sonia said the Centre was committed to finding a lasting and just solution to the problems faced by the state.

"It is necessary that as chief minister, you provide an effective, honest and transparent administration that places the interests of the people above all else," she said.

The Congress president said, "There has been enough pain and suffering and just as the government at the Centre under the leadership of Manmohan Singh is committed to finding a lasting and just solution to the problems faced by the state, it is the responsibility of the state government to work with single-minded devotion to fulfill the promises made."

Ultimately, you will be judged by your government's commitment to providing economic development, creating employment and other opportunities, especially for the youth of the state. The people of all parts of the state must feel that they have a government that is devoted to their interests and works with integrity and purposefulness."

The UPA chairperson told Azad that the terrible earthquake and its aftermath as the severe winter approaches should be 'your first priority and challenge'.

"I am confident that you will give your all and that you will win the hearts and minds of the people. In all these endeavours you will, of course, have my complete support and that of the party," she said.

Like his predecessor, Azad is not a member of the state legislature and has to seek election either to the assembly or legislative council within six months. He is, however, a Rajya Sabha member from his home state.

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who took over on this day in 2002, was also not a member of either house of the legislature. He was elected to the Upper House within six months and finally entered the assembly from Pahalgam constituency in Anantnag district in a bypoll in 2004.

The seat was vacated by his daughter Mehbooba Mufti who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Anantnag.

More news: J&K

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