Omar avoiding cabinet expansion fearing NC breakup: Baig

MUDDASIR ALI

Kunzer (Tangmarg), Nov 14: Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday said ruling National Conference (NC) was avoiding cabinet expansion fearing the move could end up in disintegration of the party.
Addressing party convention here senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig said NC was spreading canards that PDP would disintegrate.
“Let Chief Minister Omar Abdullah go for cabinet expansion and NC will see for itself which party breaks apart,” Baig said.
The total strength of council of Ministers in JK is 25 including Chief Minister, cabinet ministers and ministers of state.
However, at present the number of Cabinet ministers is only 17- nine NC members and eight Congress members.
While NC has still one berth to be filled in the cabinet, two vacancies are left for Congress after its leader and R&B Minister GM Saroori had to resign following his alleged involvement in the impersonation case involving his daughter. The number of MoS is five in the council.
After cabinet formation in 2008, both the parties have been claiming that cabinet would be expanded to its original strength of 25. But both NC and Congress are struggling to choose the right faces fearing resentment.
Baig said everything would be clear once the cabinet was expanded. “What is stopping them from taking a decision? What are they afraid of?” Baig asked.
He said NC was afraid of the growing popularity of PDP which is evident from the “irrational and frustrating statements” issued by the party time and again.
“They know that not only is PDP becoming popular among people due to its pro-people policies but it is gaining strength in political terms also,” Baig said.
He accused National Conference (NC) of resorting to “fraudulent tactics” in 1987 Assembly elections to defeat of Muslim United Front (MUF) resulting in eruption of militancy.
“MUF was winning everywhere but NC committed fraud and it led to their (MUF) defeat,” senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig said, addressing a party convention here.
PDP leader said the “fraud” resulted in a teacher Muhammad Yousuf Shah, who was a MUF candidate losing election, and picking up gun only to become Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Salah-ud-Din.
“Yousuf Shah along with hundreds of Kashmiris was forced by NC to cross-LoC for arms training. The guns are not picked up for hunting birds but out of frustration and disappointment. It brought revolution in 90’s but resulted in killing of thousands of people,” Baig said.
He said when NC came to power in 1996, the party instead of seeking accountability from New Delhi on killings, the then Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah joined hands with BJP led NDA to ensure a berth for his son Omar Abdullah as Minister of State for External Affairs in the Government of India.
“National Conference forgot Kashmiris and their sacrifices and joined hands with BJP and RSS,” he said.
Senior vice president PDP Moulvi Iftikhar Ansari took on NC leadership for “selling out Kashmir’s resources for own interests”.
“Earlier they sold our hydropower resources and now the sell out was done on Amarnath road,” Ansari said.
He criticized NC for withdrawing its members from House Panel which was set up to enquire into the land scam against Minister for PHE and Irrigation Taj Mohi-ud-Din. The committee was ultimately dissolved.
“I don’t know whether Taj is involved in it or not. NC withdrew its members on directions of Congress to save the chair. Don’t think nobody is watching corruption in Abdullah family,” Iftikhar said.
He said people were desperate for change. “If you believe there was some change for better in the state during PDP’s three years rule then you should stand up to win back those times,” Ansari said.
PDP’s local leader Muhammad Abbas Wani said the convention was the beginning of a “new era” in the area.
“PDP will move from strength to strength to change the political landscape in 2014,” said Wani, addressing party workers.
He said gone are the days when individuals would represent themselves as party unto themselves.
“Every PDP worker and supporter equally represents the party here. We will move from house to house to persuade people to support us in bringing the change in 2014. We will not give up and I will lead the movement from front,” Wani said.
He asked PDP workers not to be afraid of any “element” for espousing peoples cause in the constituency.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 14 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 14 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 15 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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