Azad: No question of Congress government formation with PDP
'We visited Srinagar purely out of respect for Mufti Sahab. There's absolutely nothing political in it'
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
JAMMU, Jan 11: Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday set aside all speculations of the PDP-Congress government formation in Jammu and Kashmir while asserting that the All India Congress Committee President Sonia Gandhi's visit to Srinagar on Sunday was "purely personal".
"There's absolutely nothing political in it. Sonia ji (alongwith Mr Azad and Ambika Soni) called on the bereaved family purely out of our respect and emotional bondage of several decades with Mufti Sahab", Azad told STATE TIMES by telephone from New Delhi.
"Congress has absolutely no ambition or intention of forming the government with PDP which has been and continues to be a constituent of the coalition with BJP. There's no question of the Congress government formation with PDP in Jammu and Kashmir", Azad added without equivocation. "Unfortunately, some people are reading too much in our visit to Mufti Sahab's residence where we went simply with our condolences for the bereaved family", he asserted.
Azad said that he himself, as well as Sonia Gandhi and Ambika Soni, had "decades of personal and emotional bondage" with Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, his wife and daughter Mehbooba. "We were deeply shocked on learning about his ill health and subsequently death. So we called on him at AIIMS. I was on Umra in Saudi Arabia where I prayed for his recovery. But he passed away next day. After I returned, we decided to visit Srinagar and paid our homage to Mufti Sahab on occasion of his Rasm-e-Chaharum".
Asked why the BJP top brass, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party President Amit Shah, stayed back in New Delhi and only the Congress top brass visited Srinagar, Azad said: "BJP has strictly a relationship of political convenience with PDP. There's nothing emotional in it. Contrarily, we in Congress have personal and emotional bondage of several decades with the Mufti family. That's perhaps why they stood back in Delhi and we went all the way to Srinagar to pay our tributes and condolences", Azad said.
Asked what precisely were the prospects of the new government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, Azad said Mehbooba Mufti would "most likely" fill the shoes of her father and form her government in coalition with BJP.