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Muzaffar Beig rules out new party

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
September 05, 2006 11:08 IST
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Muzaffar Hussain Beig, who resigned as Jammu and Kashmir's deputy chief minister last week, has ruled out abandoning the People's Democratic Party to launch a new party.

Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad wanted to retain Beig as the state finance minister after PDP president Mehbooba Mufti told the CM that her party would name another party leader for the post of deputy chief minister.

Beig told in a telephone conversation from Srinagar that miscommunication had provoked differences between PDP supremo and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and himself, adding that the problems had been caused by intermediaries between the two men.

"There was a conspiracy by some individuals who did not tell me that Mufti had called me for a meeting. They told him I would come after 10 pm for the meeting. Mufti kept waiting till midnight and this caused the problems between the two of us," Beig said.

Mufti Sayeed -- the former Union home minister who is Mehbooba Mufti's father -- softened his stand after Beig resigned the deputy chief minister's post and promised to stay within the PDP fold.

"We have raised the party with our sweat and blood and there is no question of me walking out of it," Beig told

He confirmed that Azad wanted to retain him as finance minister but Beig said he could not accept the invitation at the cost of his loyalty to his party.

"I want the understanding between the PDP and Congress to be honoured. The two parties should run the government smoothly. Some people played up the chief minister's decision to keep me and projected it as building bridges between the two of us, whereby I could become chief minister. That was a case of someone's imagination running wild," Beig, who plans to visit New Delhi in a couple of weeks, said.

The Congress and PDP operate a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir. Mufti Sayeed was the state chief minister for the first half of the government's tenure. Azad will be chief minister for the rest of the term.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi