Coalitions have their compulsions: Azad



Jammu: Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said Sunday that coalition governments are laden with compulsions and are not easy to run.

"It is not easy to run coalition governments - be it in the states or at the centre. Coalition is a compulsion but its underlined aim should be to work for progress and development, keeping aside personal and individual likes and dislikes," said Azad on the sidelines of a function where he unveiled the statue of Hari Singh, the last princely ruler of Jammu and Kashmir who acceded to throne in 1925 and signed the Instrument of Accession for becoming part of the Indian union in 1947.

Azad, a former Kashmir chief minister, said that the Congress leadership - Party President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - had decided to form a coalition with the National Conference (NC) in Jammu and Kashmir for the six year term of the state assembly. Hence, that decision was binding on Congressmen.

He added: "It is the duty of both National Conference and Congress to strive for progress and development of the state."

Speaking about Hari Singh, Azad said: "He was a visionary who over 60 years ago banned child marriage in the state. Today, 35 percent children in Rajasthan and Bihar get married at the age of 12 years and the same percentage of girls are bearing children at the age of 15 years, when marriage of girls under 18 years is a crime."

He said Hari Singh also abolished untouchability when it was prevelant in the country and opened temples for all castes.

Hari Singh's son Karan Singh, a Rajya Sabha MP, thanked Azad and the government for the "life-sized statue of my father fifty years after his death."

IANS