Health portfolio: Day after Omar takes charge, Congress sounds unhappy

Soz Says ‘Haven’t Surrendered Ministry, Our Man Will Soon Take Its Control’


Srinagar, Feb 10: A day after the J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took charge of the Health ministry following ex-minister Shabir Khan’s resignation, the State Congress Chief Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz Monday said his party would soon take over the portfolio.
 Talking to Greater Kashmir this afternoon, Soz said: “A Congress minister will soon hold the additional charge of the Health portfolio. We have not surrendered the post.”
 Senior leaders of the State Congress are lobbying hard to grab the charge of Health ministry.
 Pertinently, Khan had to resign from the post after facing serious charges of molestation of a lady doctor in his official chamber. Sources in the Congress camp said many leaders and a few ministers are actively involved in making efforts to grab the post.  “A few MLAs and many MLCs of the party, especially those belonging to Chenab valley in Jammu region have sent representations/memorandums to Congress high command seeking cabinet representation to their area,” sources said. “The Congress leaders have demanded immediate decision over the issue so that the party continues to retain its Health portfolio.”
 They said Congress leaders including MLA Bhaderwah Muhammad Sharief Niyaz, MLCs Jehangir Mir, Naresh Gupta, Jugal Kishore, Sham Lal Baghat and many others are eyeing the Health Ministry.
 Sources said Congress leaders from Chenab valley are in constant touch with Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad over the issue.
 “Efforts are being made to ensure that the charge of health ministry is given to a Congress legislator from Chenab valley,” they said. “Many memorandums have been sent to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Union Minister Azad seeking a representation to Chenab valley in the State cabinet.”
 Sources said that Congress leaders have expressed serious resentment as to why Chief Minister has taken the charge of Health ministry. “Same has been the case in the past also when former R&B Minister G M Saroori was sacked and the charge remained with the Chief Minister for a long time,” the Congress leaders have conveyed to party leadership in New Delhi.
 Interestingly, the issue, according to sources, has already been discussed by the State Congress chief Prof Soz, with Union Minister Azad, AICC JK affairs in-charge Ambika Soni with the AICC president Sonia Gandhi. “The names of two ministers have been shortlisted for the additional charge of Health Ministry— PHE Minister Sham Lal Sharma and Medical Education Minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din,” sources said. “Sham Lal is the number one contender for the post given his past experience as the Health Minister of the State.”

Lastupdate on : Mon, 10 Feb 2014 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 10 Feb 2014 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 11 Feb 2014 00:00:00 IST

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