Rejig aimed at control, consolidation?

ABID BASHIR

Srinagar, Jan 15: The audacious revamp affected by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah simultaneously in National Conference (NC) organizational structure and council of ministers is being viewed by political pundits as his tactical move to have “direct control” over the party affairs on one hand and consolidate winnable seats on the other with an eye on 2014 Assembly polls.
One more strong indication that today’s reshuffle has brought to fore is that Omar Abdullah may be mulling preponing of Assembly polls in the state – originally scheduled for December 2014 - and coinciding the conduct of same with the Parliament polls in March-April 2014.
According to political observers, in run-up to 2014 assembly polls, NC wants to focus and work on winnable assembly segments so that it can manage between 25 to 30 seats to retain power in coalition with Congress for another term. “As per its plans and what today’s reshuffle indicates, NC is eyeing all the 10 seats of erstwhile Srinagar district, at least four seats out of five in district Kupwara, two seats in district Bandipora, two seats in district Budgam, two seats in district Kargil, around three to four seats in erstwhile district Anantnag (including Kulgam), a couple of seats in erstwhile district Pulwama and three to four seats in Jammu region,” a political observer said.
With today’s rejig, chief minister has tried to strengthen existing constituencies held by NC besides assigning task of rejuvenating the party to his trusted lieutenants Devender Singh Rana and Nasir Aslam Wani.
Rana and Wani have been appointed as provincial presidents for Jammu and Valley respectively.
At the same time by inducting both Handwara and Kupwara legislators Choudhary Ramzaan and Saifullah Mir as ministers, Omar has consolidated these two seats besides making similar move for Gurez and Tanghdar by inducting Nazir Gurezi as a minister and appointing Tanghdar MLA Kafil-ur-Rehman as Vice-Chairman of Pahari Advisory Board.
Omar has appointed former Higher Education Minister Abdul Gani Malik and senior NC leader Rachpal Singh as the in-charge of two crucial Parliamentary constituencies of Jammu region — Kathua-Udhampur-Doda and Jammu-Poonch-Rajouri respectively. Similarly, the NC MP from South Kashmir, Mehboob Beg has been appointed as Central Secretary for Kashmir region.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, the NC MP from South Kashmir said the party leadership has reposed faith in the NC leaders which include MPs, Ministers, Ministers of State and others as well. “We have to respect the faith and work on the jobs assigned to us. The changes made by the Chief Minister are good for the party,” he said. “Our primary job will be to work to give our political opponents a befitting reply in 2014. The forthcoming Assembly and Parliament elections are obviously a big challenge.”
Wani, on the other hand said, he feels proud to be given the charge of NC provincial president for Kashmir. “While our focus will be on existing NC constituencies we will also try to fill the gap between people and the party. We will try to overcome the weaknesses. We will revive the youth wing to rope-in more youth to the party fold,” Wani said.
Omar has given a clear signal that he doesn’t want to enter into a race of winning full majority in 2014 Assembly elections. The changes made in the cabinet (as far NC Ministers) are concerned doesn’t seem to be affecting the basic representation in the existing constituencies of the party. The ministers whose resignation has been accepted have been assigned the job of party affairs.
Surjeet Singh Salathia, former Industries Minister, has been made Senior Vice-President of the party. “The two former Ministers Qamar Ali Akhoon and Syed Aga Ruhullah have been appointed as vice presidents of the party. At the same time, the former MoS R&B has been made district president for entire Baramulla district of north Kashmir,” said an NC spokesman.
Meanwhile, Additional General Secretary NC Sheikh Mustafa Kamaal, however, gave a guarded response on the fresh developments. “What remains to be seen is whether all decisions taken are right. I will go through all changes first and then make comments accordingly,” he said.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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