Cabinet rejig continues to cark State Congress

Disgruntled Leaders Explore Options On How To Register Protest

RESHUFFLE AFTERMATH

ABID BASHIR

Srinagar, Feb 3: Weeks after the cabinet reshuffle-cum expansion in J&K’s ruling dispensation, simmering discontent is brewing in the state unit of the Congress with party’s senior leaders seriously mulling to approach the high command to lodge strong protest as most of them they feel “having been cut to a size.”
 Interestingly, the Congress camp in J&K has faced virtual revolt from one of its senior who accused the party leadership of inducting “tainted” politicians in the council of ministers and leaving Kashmiri Pandits once again high and dry.
 Reliable sources said the recent cabinet rejig has triggered a major frustration in the party fold with most of the senior state Congress leaders openly expressing their resentment against the reshuffle. “Senior ministers, former ministers and legislators of the party, that include, Tara Chand, Raman Bhalla, Rigzin Jora, R S Chib, Muhammad Sharief Niaz and others are the most disappointed lot,” said a Congress source.
 “A strong lobby of disgruntled ministers is working hard to formulate a strategy how to register its protest with the Congress high command,” he said.
 Sources said they are meeting once in a week to chalk-out the future course of action. Congress high command, especially those assigned the job of Kashmir affairs are not ready to say anything over the issue.
 “We are the soldiers of the party. It is true that we are not satisfied with the way portfolios were allotted,” said one of the disgruntled Congress ministers. He was earlier having two important portfolios but now remains confined to only one. He said there are many ministers who have gained out of the recent rejig. “Those who were having bad track record were given much better portfolios those who were having clean image were cut to size on the pretext they don’t work,” the minister said. He, however, refused to divulge details regarding their future course of action. “We will convey our reservations to party high command,” he said and did not elaborate further.
 A senior Congress leader, Ashok Bhan said it was unfortunate to see “tainted” ministers back in the council of ministers. “I am quite surprised to see people known for being involved one or the other activity that casts bad shadow on the party given top ministerial berths. At the same time, Congress has once again ignored Kashmiri Pandits,” he said.
 State Congress chief Prof Saifuddin Soz, sticks to his stand: “Cabinet expansion is an established fact now.”
 Sources said resentment is not just among the ministers but the lower-rung workers of the party including workers are also upset with the rejig. “It takes more than six months for a new minister to get adjusted with his job. Reshuffle came at a wrong time. When we were demanding it, that time, Congress high command and others cold shouldered us,” said a Congress worker. He said since there seemed to be no criteria for distribution of portfolios, why was Ghulam Nabi Monga left-out. “He too should have been there as MoS if not a cabinet rank minister,” he said. “At the same time, the term of the former Minister for Medical and Technical Education (RS Chib) was supposed to end in March. But he too was axed early. That indicated there was no proper criterion followed for the admission and exit in the cabinet.”
 The cabinet reshuffle-cum expansion was finalised in New Delhi in at least six rounds of meetings between Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, PCC chief Prof Saifuddin Soz, Kashmir Affairs in-charge Mohan Prakash and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel.
 “I believe Congress high command is the ultimate authority to decide on the cabinet expansion. For me, distribution of portfolios has been done on the basis of performance,” said senior Congress leader Abdul Gani Vakil in a guarded response. Congress inducted three new faces, Ghulam Ahmed Mir, Abdul Majeed Wani and Vikar Rasool.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 3 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 3 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 4 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST




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