Assembly elections will not solve 'Kashmir' issue: Omar

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Jammu, Oct 23 (UNI) Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Omar Abdullah today said the forthcoming seven-phased elections beginning in state from November 17 are not going to solve the 'Kashmir' issue.

''The assembly elections are not going to solve the 'Kashmir' imbroglio but it is the only solution to the routine matters and the problems of the people in the state,'' Mr Abdullah told mediapersons at a press conference here.

However, hopeful of retaining power, the NC president said party patron and the Member Parliament Farooq Abdullah will be the Chief Ministerial candidate if their party forms next Jammu and Kashmir government.

''Dr Abdullah will be the Chief Ministerial candidate while he himself will also be contesting the Assembly elections, which will be held in seven phases in state,'' Mr Abdullah added.

Meanwhile, Mr Abdullah said the NC has learned lessons from the defeat in 2002 elections and the party is hopeful of forming the next government in state.

''The coalition government during six-year regime has failed to meet the expectations of the people as they (people) experienced only the mis-governance under their leadership,'' he added.

''We shall be taking the message during these elections that coalitions are not in the interest of people especially in a state like Jammu and Kashmir,'' he said.

Mr Abdullah was here in the town to welcome the former Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) state president Yash Pal Bhagat, who today joined the National Conference and will contest elections from Bishnah constituency.

Mr Bhagat was allegedly expelled from the party by the BSP national general secretary Narinder Kashyap against whom he had leveled allegations of spoiling the image of the Party in Jammu and Kashmir.

However, in another function here this afternoon, Shilp Verma, wife of late Kuldeep Verma, who allegedly committed suicide during two-month long Amarnath agitation, joined the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).

UNI VBH AKJ SB HT1722

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