The J&K Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir on Sunday said the former Peoples Democratic Party leader Tariq Hamid Karra would join the Congress party "soon", even as he asserted that the upcoming Panchayat elections are "being thrust on us."
"He is in touch with us…The whole thing has been discussed even at the highest level and soon a call will be taken in this regard," Mir told reporters on the sidelines of a day-long party convention here.
He said Karra has to join Congress in presence of senior party leaders. "They are busy with Uttar Pradesh and other state elections. Once they are free, he will join us hopefully," he said.
Mir however said any position of Karra in the party will be decided once he is its member.
"It is impossible to discuss the position issue till you are not a member of the party," he said, and quickly added: "Every decision will be taken by the party high command. We will follow that." Pertinently, Karra, one of founding members of PDP, resigned from the party last year in the wake of civilian killings by forces during the six-month-long uprising triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani. He had said he was feeling suffocated by the PDP-BJP alliance and the "new avatar" adorned by the PDP.
"My conscience cannot take it anymore. As a mark of protest against the sell-out (of PDP) to the Bharatiya Janata Party, I am disassociating myself from primary membership of party as well as the Parliament,' Karra had told reporters while announcing his resignation.
Meanwhile, Mir took a dig at PDP-BJP government over the issue of holding the Panchayat polls in J&K. "We are unable to understand this situation. We only see hasty decisions followed by orders," he said, adding: "The Government has started delimitation (of Panchayats) on its own. There is a committee for delimitation and it can't be done by a VLW as ordered by the Government."
(But) he appealed to people to get ready for these elections. "It would have been better if they had held the Lok Sabha polls first and then the Panchayat polls," he said.
He said no member of Legislative Assembly from the ruling dispensation visited his constituency in South Kashmir.
Also, he said, the Congress feels highly concerned about the fate of Panchayati Raj Institutions under the present dispensation. "Every effort is being made by the PDP-BJP to erode the authority of PRIs due to fear of losing power, as both coalition partners are in not in a position to face the electorate," he said.
He said Congress put in place strenuous efforts to empower Panchayats to ensure development of all areas at grassroots.
"It is unfortunate that despite empowering PRIs and ULBs, the State Government led by Mehbooba Mufti has indulged in delimitation of Panchayats and ULBs which is being undertaken in a very short span of time and is indicative of conspiracies being hatched to make use of democratic institutions for personal benefit by the PDP-BJP," he said, adding: "The government is interfering in PRIs just to save its sinking boat."
The senior Congress leader said Mehbooba Mufti has "shared power with anti-nationals."
"Those who want to abrogate Article 370 are anti-nationals. It is only BJP who wants its abrogation," he said, adding: "It was also accepted by Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti. This alliance is only for chair. There will again be bifurcation between the two, sooner or later."