‘Unrest’ in JK Congress

Leaders Smell Conspiracy, Express Displeasure With Party High Command

RESHUFFLE FALLOUT

FIRDOUS TAK

Jammu, Jan 31: The recent reshuffle in the council of ministers in Jammu and Kashmir seems to have ruffled many feathers in the State Congress, with majority of its cadres expressing strong displeasure over the party High Command’s move to ‘cut most of the senior legislators to size.’
Sources told Greater Kashmir that all is not well within the Pradesh Congress Committee following the reshuffle where, besides inducting two new faces, the party chose to reshuffle portfolios of its ministers unlike its alliance partner National Conference. The NC is, on the other hand, understood to have ‘reposed faith’ in its senior legislators even though they had submitted their resignation to the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah a day before the oath ceremony.
“The reshuffle has left the party leaders dejected and there is a brewing resentment over the issue in view of the fact that the performance and experience was not considered at all by the party High Command while allocating portfolios among its legislators,” a senior Congress minister (cabinet status) told Greater Kashmir.
He said a ‘general impression’ in the party is that a ‘strong lobby’ at the All India Congress Committee in New Delhi played a ‘major role by ignoring the contribution of senior legislators in the government and party.’ “It was the leaders like the party in-charge for Jammu and Kashmir Mohan Parkash, Moti Lal Vohra and Janardan Devedi who lobbied for some of the ministers in New Delhi and managed prized portfolios for their favourite ones,” another Congress minister alleged.
The party legislators Taj Mohi-ud-Din, Tara Chand, Nawang Rigzin Jora, Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed and Raman Bhalla, he said, turned out to be the “major victims” of this “lobbying.” “All these ministers have taken some of the significant initiatives during their tenures but their performance was completely ignored and instead they were given less important portfolios,” a Congress insider said. “On the other hand Sham Lal Sharma, Aijaz Ahmed Khan and Shabir Ahmed Khan have turned out to be big-time gainers in the reshuffle. Sharma is the only minister who has been in fact elevated and given a major portfolio.”
While Taj Mohi-ud-Din has been now shifted to Medical Education and Sports and Youth Services Ministries, Tara Chand has lost a major portfolio of Housing and Urban Development Department and instead has been shifted to School Education. Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed got the Public Enterprises, Haj, Auqaf and Floriculture. The party bifurcated the portfolios of Housing and Urban Development departments and shared it among Jora and Raman Bhalla.
“This is an attempt to impose juniors on their seniors in the party which has only left us dejected and disheartened,” a senior Congress leader said.
He said Congress was being ‘weakened’ in Jammu and Kashmir “under a well planned conspiracy” and some of the leaders in the party were a part of it. “We have taken up the matter with the party high command and expressed our dismay over the way senior leaders were being targeted and isolated,” the leader said.
He claimed that there was a “deliberate attempt” to create lobbyism and factionalism in the state Congress as “it suits some of the people at the AICC.”
Interestingly, the party high command is tightlipped over the issue and has put the ball in the court of Pradesh Congress Committee. “You should talk to the State Congress chief and not me over this issue,” the All India Congress Committee (AICC) member and in- charge Kashmir Affairs, Mohan Prakash told Greater Kashmir over phone.
The PCC chief, Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz while defending the decision, said: “We have reshuffled the cabinet and expanded it with three new inductions. The decision has been taken by the Congress high command. The expansion and reshuffle of Cabinet is an established fact now.”
With Congress top brass is firm on its decision, the party, which is already faction-hit, has invited a fresh trouble, though discreetly.
Former R&B Minister G M Saroori was the first to oppose the move in public. Many others followed the suit, silently. “I had to say what I wanted. My leader is the Union Minister for Health Ghulam Nabi Azad. I don’t have to say anything more now,” Saroori said.
Congress inducted three ministers Ghulam Ahmed Mir with tourism portfolio, Abdul Majeed Wani with R&B and Vikar Rasool as a Minister of State with a series of portfolios that include Parliamentary Affairs, Rural Development and Panchayats, Social Welfare, Power, Hospitality and Protocol, Information, CA&PD.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 31 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 31 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST




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