As speculation grows about the troubled alliance between the Congress and the National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti admitted for the first time that she and her father and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed have met senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad in Delhi.

In an interview to The Hindu, Mehbooba, however, denied the meeting was of a political nature, and said it would not be correct to negotiate an alliance ahead of the Assembly polls this year, while the Congress remained in an alliance with the NC. “We still are very hopeful of our own majority,” Mehbooba said. “Also, it is unethical to speak of an alliance right now ... you know if two people are already in a marriage, it is very wrong for us to say, when they divorce, I can go with them.”

Relations between the Omar Abdullah led-NC and the Congress have reached a new low over rumours of the meeting that Mehbooba confirmed in the interview. Both the NC and the Congress have also blamed each other for their wipe-out in the parliamentary polls, where the PDP and the BJP won 3 seats each. The loss of Farooq Abdullah to the PDP candidate was a loss of face for the NC.

Speaking to The Hindu in Srinagar, NC working president Omar Abdullah said, “There are voices in both parties that are not in favour of fighting elections together. Some have been tempered by the recent developments of secretive meetings between the Congress leaders and the PDP leadership. None of this leaves a good taste.”

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