Rahul 'not interested', Sonia asks Manmohan to talk to PDP in J&K

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New Delhi, Dec 30: Party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi is reportedly not interested in finding a way to stop the BJP from coming to power in Jammu and Kashmir which went to the assembly election recently. The leader even did not turn up for the his party's 130th foundation day ceremony held on Sunday. [Congress cautions PDP against forming govt with BJP]

Sources in the party said that the vice-president has perhaps been demoralised not only by the Congress's poor show in the polls (the party finished fourth with just 12 seats) but also by the bad show by the National Conference which bagged just 17 seats.

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NC leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah has gone to London, where Rahul Gandhi is reportedly spending his vacation, for his politician father's treatment.

Finding no other option, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has entrusted former prime minister Manmohan Singh with the task of carrying out the talks of negotiation with the People's Democratic Party (PDP) over a possible government formation. Singh called PDP patron and former chief minister of the state Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and proposed a tie-up in the state as it was in 2002.

The PDP emerged the single-largest party in the recent elections with 28 seats while the BJP got 25 seats. The Congress is desperate to stop the PDP joining hands with the BJP to form a government, sources said.

This is not the first time that Singh is playing a role in bridging the gap between the Congress and PDP. In 2002, when the BJP-led NDA government was at the Centre, it was Singh who was instrumental in forging an alliance between the Congress and PDP in the state.

Sonia Gandhi sent Singh twice as her messenger to convince Sayeed who himself is a former Congressman, to form the alliance.

The alliance had seen both the parties having a chief minister with three terms each and Mufti became the first chief minister serving between 2002 and 2005 and was succeeded by Congress's Ghulam Nabi Azad. The PDP also became an ally of the Congress in the first UPA government that came to power in 2004.

The Congress is also ready to see Mufti serving as the chief minister for the entire stint of six years. The Congress is also eager to include the NC in the grand alliance to prevent the BJP's coming to power. [BJP slams PDP's grand alliance plan]

The grand alliance, if it becomes a reality, will have 55 MLAs and that the Congress feels will negate the BJP's force of 25 MLAs.

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