Kashmir portfolios announced amid coalition crisis
1 September 2006
Indo-Asian News Service
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad announced the portfolios of his council of ministers following its expansion earlier this week.However, the distribution of portfolios late Thursday has led to a serious crisis in the four-year-old coalition government.While the major coalition partner Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wanted former deputy chief minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig to be stripped of the key portfolios of finance, planning and development, law and parliamentary affairs, the chief minister allowed Baig to retain the key departments he was holding.As the portfolios were announced, the PDP called an emergency meeting of its legislature party. It decided to recall Baig from the cabinet and elevate Abdul Aziz Zargar in his place.In the portfolio distribution, Baig retains finance, planning and development, law and parliamentary affairs.Senior congress leader Mangat Ram Sharma gets health and medical education while Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed gets education, Haj and Auqaf.The newly inducted Muhammad Dilawar Mir of PDP gets public health engineering, irrigation, flood control and horticulture.Qazi Muhammad Afzal, who held these departments, has been allotted the forest portfolio.Taj Mohi-ud-Din has been given public distribution, animal and sheep husbandry and the chief minister has retained home and general administration.