While the ruling National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir is upbeat about the report of the fifth Working Group on Centre-State relations, the Opposition People’s Democratic Party terms it inconclusive. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) says it has been submitted in haste.

Addressing a press conference here, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said she failed to understand why the report was submitted to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah rather than to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who set up the Working Groups.

The report was misconstrued as an endorsement of autonomy, while “it has also acknowledged the self-rule proposal put forth by our party and said that it should be put on record,” she said.

“As far as autonomy is concerned, it has said that it should be examined,” she said.

“In my party’s view self-rule is much more than autonomy, which is also realised by Justice Saghir Ahmad [who headed the Working Group]. The report clearly states that autonomy has to be examined and self-rule [has] to be considered. But, in newspapers it was totally otherwise,” said the PDP president. The importance of the report was diluted by being submitted to the State government. Also, it was inconclusive and made no concrete recommendation. However, “We do not disagree with the report.”

National Conference senior leader and Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar said: “We will chalk out a policy to ensure implementation of the recommendations, especially on autonomy. For that, we will have to take Dr. Farooq Abdullah [NC patron and Union Minister], Omar Abdullah and the people into confidence.”

Mr. Sagar said the NC’s stand that the PDP’s claim on self-rule was “nothing but a hoax” was vindicated. “They could not present anything concrete to the Working Group and that was reflected in the report.”

Pointing out that the CPI(M) had all along been advocating restoration of the eroded autonomy, State secretary M.Y. Tarigami, who was a member of the Working Group, said the discussions among its members on their proposals had been left half way. “It was decided when we met last time to have threadbare discussions on the proposals put forth by the members.” Had that happened, some consensus could have evolved and formed the basis for any recommendation.