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Sonia Gandhi visits Mehbooba, Congress says 'nothing political'

News18

First published: January 10, 2016, 3:30 PM IST | Updated: January 10, 2016
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Sonia Gandhi visits Mehbooba, Congress says 'nothing political'
Gandhi, who arrived from Delhi, drove straight from the airport to the Fairview residence of Mehbooba in Gupkar and stayed there for 20 minutes.

Srinagar: Sonia Gandhi on Sunday called on PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar, but the Congress promptly scotched speculation that she was reaching out to an old ally.

Gandhi, along with leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and party general secretary Ambika Soni, visited Mehbooba at her residence to offer condolences on the demise of her father and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

"It was only a visit to pay our condolences. No politics was discussed . The Congress has a long association withe her family," Azad told reporters.

Gandhi, who arrived from Delhi, drove straight from the airport to the Fairview residence of Mehbooba in Gupkar and stayed there for 20 minutes.

The meeting is seen as politically significant as BJP, which is PDP's ally in Jammu and Kashmir, is yet to officially extend support to Mehbooba for becoming chief minister.

But BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, who too visited Mehbooba during the day , said the BJP and PDP will together fulfill the late chief minister's vision.

Sources in the PDP meanwhile said Mehbooba will not take oath as chief minister for at least a week -- earlier the party had said three days -- further adding to the impression that she was reluctant to form a government with the BJP

PDP legislators went into a huddle later in the evening to decide on future action.

There are reports that PDP and BJP are bargaining afresh over the formation of a new government though Mehbooba's party has already given a letter to Governor N N Vohra saying all 28 MLAs back her for the chief minister's post.

The state is now under president's rule with both the BJP and PDP yet to convey their position.

In the present 87-member assembly the PDP has 28 seats, the BJP 25, National Conference 15 and the Congress 15.

Congress has earlier shared power with PDP from 2002 to 2008, with both parties having their chief minister on rotational basis. They later had a bitter split in 2008.

Former chief minister Sayeed breathed his last on Thursday at AIIMS in New Delhi after undergoing treatment there since December 24.

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