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Kashmir: Omar Abdullah predicts early polls

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
September 09, 2005 22:31 IST
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Jammu and Kashmir's opposition National Conference president Omar Abdullah on Friday said his party is prepared to go in for early assembly polls should the Centre decide to hold early polls in the state to give some factions of the separatists a chance to prove their credentials.

Talking to in New Delhi on Friday he said there are enough indicators to suggest that the state could go for early elections.

"One of the major reasons is the continuing rift between the ruling People's Democratic Party and the Congress. Though Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has been saying that the handover of power to the Congress will be smooth as per the arrangement arrived between the two parties in October 2002.

At the National Integration Council, Prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh said the All Parties Hurriyat Conference should prove their credentials by participating in the elections," he said.

He also pointed out that the manner and speed with which both PDP and the Congress leaders were visiting far flung areas in the state to implement some of the pending projects as well as lay foundation stones for the new one.

"I am president of a political party and I have to be prepared for any eventuality. Whether the state goes in for early polls or not is another thing," he added.

He denied that he met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the recent past with an eye on joining hands with the Congress.

"We would cross the bridge when we come to it," he added.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi