Valley Based Congress Cadres Up In Arms

Valley Based Congress Cadres Up In Arms

22 February 2012
Greater Kashmir
Javaid Malik

Srinagar: As speculations are rife about Congress high command mulling to give mandate to a senior party leader from Jammu for bye-election to lone Legislative Council seat, the Valley based Congress leaders have started hectic lobbying to prevail over the party leadership to change its decision. The by-election for the seat, which fell vacant due to the death of Yashpal Khajuria last year, is slated for March 22. In the 36-member upper house, Congress has eight seats, out of which five are represented by legislators from Jammu region and three are represented by the Valley based legislators. Five members of Legislative Council from Jammu are; R S Chib, B R Kundal, Amrit Malhotra, Ravinder Sharma and Jehangir Mir while three from Kashmir are: Ali Muhammad Bhat, Bashir Ahmed Magray and Muhammad Amin Bhat, whose term is likely to end in May this year. Sources told Greater Kashmir that the Valley based Congress cadres believe that they are “underrepresented” in the upper house as well as in the council of ministers. “Jammu region has been getting lion’s share despite Valley based party cadres working against all the odds,” said a senior Congress leader. He said late Khajuria was elected to the upper house after the term of Valley based Congress leader Abdul Gani Vakil ended. “When Vakil’s term ended we tried our level best to ensure that someone from the Valley should get the mandate but due to tussle between two top leaders of the party none from Kashmir could get it as a result the party high command preferred a person from Jammu region,” the leader added. Sources said Congress leadership’s reported decision to give mandate to Jammu based party leader to contest the LC bye election has not gone well with Valley based cadres. “It seems we are being ignored as Jammu based cadres as well as the leaders are at the forefront and are calling the shots. Notion is being created that as if state Congress is a Jammu centric party and it has got nothing to do with the Valley,” said a Congress insider. He said party leadership had failed to give representation to any member of the Kashmiri Pandit community either in the upper house or the council of ministers. “Presently none from the Congress represents Srinagar constituency in the upper house. Valley based Congress cadres have taken a serious note of it and have already taken up the issue with senior leaders,” he said, adding, “If party leadership fails to address our concerns it can have far reaching consequences and can lead to a rebellion within the party. We hope party leadership will keep all these factors in mind before taking the final call.” Pertinently, state Congress has been in the midst of controversies in the recent past. Senior party leader Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed was divested of the Education portfolio recently for allegedly misusing his official position to help his foster son qualify class-X board examination. Senior party leader Abdul Gani Vakil calling PHE and Irrigation Minister, Taj Mohi-ud-Din “corrupt” has triggered a massive war of words between the two leaders as both of them traded charges against each other through media. Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Prof Saifuddin Soz said, “Party leadership is looking at all the aspects. We will very soon hold a meeting to decide about our future course of action.” The state Congress is vertically divided in two factions led by PCC chief Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz and Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.