Sonia, Omar discuss Kashmir coalition’s functioning

Jammu, May 29 (IANS) Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Saturday discussed the functioning of the National Conference-Congress coalition government in the state against the backdrop of reported fissures within the alliance.

At a half-an-hour meeting after Gandhi inaugurated a tribal cultural centre in Jammu – the primary function that brought her here Saturday – Abdullah gave her an account of the functioning of the over 16-month old coalition government in the state.

He stressed that things were smooth, but certain wrinkles needed to be ironed out, sources aware of the nature of the discussions said.

Gandhi, the sources said, listened to him and his assessment of the coalition, wherein the rivalry between union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and state Congress chief Saif-ud-Din Soz was pulling the Congress ministers in different directions, thus causing problems in the smooth functioning of the government.

Abdullah and Gandhi wanted the NC and the Congress to work in tandem for the progress of the state, the sources said.

On the developmental needs of the state, Gandhi assured all help to Abdullah, the sources added.

gandhi also had a meeting with the local Congress leaders and asked them to close ranks.