SRINAGAR: The intriguing silence of National Conference on the nullification of Articles 370 and 35A on Sunday, when a 15-member delegation of party leaders was allowed to meet their bosses for the first time in two months since
and his son Omar were detained, seems to be part of a well thought out strategy, if party insiders are to be believed.
In what could well be an indication of going soft towards the Centre on the contentious provisions which are now defunct, NC sources told TOI on Monday that the party would “rather focus on pressing for restoring statehood to Jammu and Kashmir”.
The meeting of NC members with party leaders was allowed by the Satya Pal Malik administration as a step towards restoring political activity in the state. Lok Sabha MP Hasnain Masoodi told mediapersons on Sunday after the two meetings (with Omar at Hari Niwas and Farooq at Gupkar Road) that both father and son were “in good spirits”.
A political analyst said on condition of anonymity that the statements by NC leaders, coupled with the pictures of a beaming Farooq with a victory sign, flanked by wife Molly and MPs Mohammad Akbar Lone and Masoodi, were a sure sign of softening of NC’s stand towards the Centre.
However, while the NC focus seems to have shifted, at least for the time being, to bringing back normalcy in the Valley, PDP has taken a hard line against the nullification of Articles 370 and 35A. Sources in PDP said this was the reason why the scheduled meeting of a party delegation with detained supremo Mehbooba Mufti was cancelled on Monday.
PDP had announced on Sunday that a delegation led by party general secretary Ved Mahajan would meet
on Monday. However, the party announced late Sunday night that the meeting was cancelled. On Monday, PDP member Firdous Tak said the meeting was cancelled due to differences within the party. It was decided not to meet Mehbooba “till there is consensus”, he added.
Tak’s clarification came even as party general secretary Surinder Choudhry emphasised that PDP was not “NC’s B-team to follow in its footsteps”. Choudhry questioned the earlier decision to meet Mehbooba, saying, “I don’t know who (in PDP) took that decision.”