Congress Behind My Ouster: Kamaal

Congress Behind My Ouster: Kamaal

11 January 2012
Kashmir Observer


Srinagar: Admitting that corruption was at its peak in Jammu and Kashmir, senior National Conference leader, Dr Sheikh Mustafa Kamaal, Wednesday said cabinet expansion and reshuffle in the NC-Congress coalition government had become inevitable. “My personal opinion is that it (expansion) should happen without any delay. Work suffers when a single minister has to take care of several portfolios. NC and Congress should go for expansion,” Dr Kamaal, who is the uncle of chief minister, Omar Abdullah, and brother of National Conference president and union minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, told KNS over telephone. “The chief minister, Omar Abdullah, should take it serious now as people in both the parties want it. He should consult his party and colleagues before going for such an exercise,” Dr Kamaal, who was ousted as the party’s additional secretary-general and chief spokesman recently, for his criticism of coalition partner, Congress, particularly the AICC general secretary, Rahul Gandhi, and the army, said. “I endorse party president’s stand on the issue. He recently told in the (NC) core group meeting that some senior ministers should be ready to take responsibility of party positions. Nobody should take it otherwise whether he-she is given ministry or party position. He-she should work for the party. When party is strong, we are strong. Dr Farooq is an experienced person and he knows what to do,” Dr Kamaal said. In an apparent reference to ministers and bureaucrats, the firebrand National Conference leader, who represents Hazratbal constituency in the Assembly, made no bones to admit that corruption during the incumbent dispensation of NC-Congress coalition was at its peak in the state. “It is everywhere in India and Pakistan. But it could be controlled here if there is a reshuffle. When a minister or a bureaucrat remains at one position for long, there are more chances of him indulging in nepotism, favoritism and corrupt practices. So reshuffle is a must,” he said, adding the chief minister was determined to root out the malaise. He said the key position of the works minister in the state had been lying vacant since the resignation of G M Saroori. Likewise, several portfolios had been entrusted to single ministers. Asked if there was a chance of his induction in the cabinet Dr Kamaal said, “It is the decision of the party high command. I was recently ousted from party positions and the decision was taken in haste. I didn’t get an opportunity since then to meet Dr Farooq or Omar when we could have discussed the issue. I was ousted due to pressure from Congress.” Asserting that raking up the roational chief minister issue (by Congress) was needless, Dr Kamaal said. “It was useless. When India can have one prime minister in 22- party coalition, where was the need to have rotational CM in a 2-party coalition in J&K,” he asked. “Change of guard always hampers development. Now as Omar will continue, progress of developmental works will be better,” Dr Kamaal said. Without naming any Congress leader, he said, “Some people tried to influence Congress high command for rotational CM. But they (high command) didn’t listen to them.” Referring to the rotational chief ministers during the earlier PDP-Congress coalition, he said, the arrangement had resulted in problems with one party seeking to belittle or discredit the chief minister from the other. Dr Kamaal advised the NC to prepare for 2014 elections from now. “We should prepare for 2014 elections from now so that we come in full majority. National Conference is a powerful and single largest party in the state,” he added. Dr Kamaal praised Omar for his efforts to ensure restoration of power and other essential service in the Valley after recent snowfall.