SHARMA IN SOUP
Cong Serves 'Show Cause' Notice To Minister
Srinagar, Dec 11: In a significant development, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) is learnt to have issued a “show-cause notice” to Minister for Health and Horticulture, Sham Lal Sharma, over his recent “trifurcation of the state” remarks, which had triggered a controversy and debate within the political circles.
Informed AICC sources disclosed to Greater Kashmir that Sharma has been asked to explain the “context” in which he had made the “reported controversial statement” that Kashmir should be given Azadi, Jammu separate statehood and Ladakh union territory status.
“The notice has been given by the central disciplinary action panel of the party headed by senior leader A K Antony and he has been asked to reply within seven days,” AICC sources said.
The party has asked the minister to explain why action shall not be initiated against him for having made the comments which have been reported in a section of media and which go against the party stand on Kashmir.
Pertinently, newspapers had on Sunday (December 5) quoted Sharma as saying: “Kashmir region has remained disturbed since long. The people there are demanding Azadi, indulging in violence and also raising voices against the nation. Centre is providing massive funding to them. Despite concessions, packages and massive funding, they have continued to raise voice against the country. The nationalist people of Jammu region are being crushed and their aspirations ignored. The discrimination has continued, regional imbalances were at galore and Kashmir was being pumped with funding at the cost of Jammu people. People of Jammu region can not be made to suffer for long. Time has come that Jammu should be separated from Kashmir, Ladakhis be granted UT status and Kashmir be given Azadi.”
While Congress distanced itself from the remarks and described it as Sharma’s personal view, it however initiated a probe into the issue.
“The party has examined the speech of the minister wherein he had made the remarks. We are not sure whether the analysis has proven him guilty or not, but the party has asked the minister to explain in which context the comments were made?” said a senior Congress minister, insisting not to be named said. “Issuance of show cause notice indicates that the minister has made the remarks. But he has to be given a chance to explain his position. If the party is not convinced with his response, it shall certainly initiate action against him under rules.”
Sources said Congress has also asked Sharma to explain why he issued his “clarification” in the press two days after the newspapers reported his trifurcation remarks. “It is to be seen why it took minister two days to respond if he had not spoken the words or if he was quoted out of context,” they said.
Following the uproar over his controversial statement on the state’s trifurcation, Sharma took the ruling alliance partner National Conference head-on accusing its leaders of “pouring venom against the Congress high command.”
Surprisingly, sources said, Congress has taken a note of Sharma’s anti-NC diatribe as well, asking him why he “publicly criticized the alliance partner National Conference.” “It is not his mandate to do that,” they said. “Such complaints, if any, are not discussed in public but addressed at the higher level. So he should not have made such comments.”
On December 8, the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah spoke about the issue, saying due notice had been taken of the contentious remarks made by Sham Lal Sharma and appropriate action would follow after analysing contents of his speech.
“As far as the minister’s remarks are concerned, due notice has been taken at appropriate quarters,” he had said. “Please allow them to examine not only the statement but also contents (of the minister’s speech) and after that whatever is to be done will be done. I am sure whatever action needs to be taken, if deemed necessary, will follow.”
While the Pradesh Congress Chief, Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz, could not be contacted for his comments, the minister didn’t respond to calls from this newspaper.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 11 Dec 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 11 Dec 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 12 Dec 2010 00:00:00 IST
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