Massive Cabinet Reshuffle Tomorrow

Massive Cabinet Reshuffle Tomorrow

13 January 2013
Rising Kashmir
Syed Amjad Shah

Srinagar: Amid speculations that the entire team of National Conference ministers would tender their resignations on Monday evening and Congress having given the final shape to firm up its team, a massive reshuffle as well as expansion in the state council of ministers is all set to take place on Tuesday (January 15). There are more chances of induction of new faces with some of the sitting ministers likely to be shown the door. Well placed sources told Rising Kashmir that the NC ministers along with advisers and chairpersons of various boards were scheduled to meet for a dinner meeting on Sunday in Jammu but it was cancelled after Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah rushed to Srinagar to review the security situation in the wake of attack on a woman Panch in Sopore. Sources said the ministers have been asked to send their resignations to the chief minister’s secretariat on Monday, paving way for the much-awaited reshuffle. They added that Law Minister, Ali Muhammad Sagar and Chairperson of State Women's Commission, Shamima Firdous have already forwarded their resignations to CM’s secretariat. Sources said that the oath ceremony for the ministers would take place on Tuesday at 4 PM in Raj Bhavan unless there are some unavoidable last minute changes in the programme. In the backdrop of the reports circulated in select newspapers on Saturday, sources said NC may not go for a major revamp but a reshuffle of ministries in the kitty of the party is likely to take place. Sources further said the father-son duo of Abdullahs had also finalized the name of a younger face from Kupwara to fill the only vacancy NC has in the council of ministers. In case any incumbent minister is dropped then the replacement will take place accordingly. While the political circles were rife with rumours that two NC stalwarts from Valley would be tasked with the party activity in view of the elections in 2014 and asked to be ready to vacate the ministerial positions, sources maintained that it would be a very tough decision for the party leadership at this stage. However, it is likely that a minister from Gool Gulabgarh area may lose his berth. The picture is, however, clearer in the Congress camp with the plan having been finalized at a recent meeting chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi. The meeting was attended among others by her political secretary Ahmed Patel, Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, PCC chief Saifuddin Soz and General Secretary in-charge Jammu and Kashmir, Mohan Prakash. Sources said party has not finalized the reshuffle on the basis of allegations of corruption against its incumbent ministers. But it will be done purely on the basis of consideration that party’s flock should remain together and the unrepresented areas should get a place in the cabinet. Sources revealed that most of the ministers would lose some of their “important” portfolios. “Their wings will be clipped,” a source, said. While the party has decided to re-induct MLA Inderwal, G M Saroori, consensus still eludes the selection among two MLAs from erstwhile Doda district. But it is certain that a senior minister whose term as the member of legislative council is ending by the end of March this year would lose the berth. In that case a young face holding the Independent charge as Minister of State will be elevated. Sources also confirmed that former MoS and MLA Dooru G A Mir who was recently acquitted by a Chandigarh court in the infamous sex scandal of 2006 is all set to get a berth this time around. By all accounts Tuesday’s reshuffle will be an overhauling exercise of the council and the ministries will be reshuffled at a large scale. Meanwhile, Soz reached Jammu Sunday morning with the final selection list of party leaders and serving ministers who will be inducted in the government as ministers or ministers of state. “As soon as he arrived, Soz drove to the chief minister’s residence where the two discussed the reshuffle-cum-expansion of the council of ministers,” sources said. According to a statement issued by PCC, among other things Soz discussed the security of panchayat members. “Both the leaders felt that this issue should be addressed unrgently to ensure safety of panchayat members. Both leaders condemned the machinations of certain vested interest to destabilize the peace and disrupt the process of strengthening democracy at grassroot leavel.” Amid speculations about the removal of Deputy Chief Minister’s post, sources said, Tara Chand left for Delhi Sunday evening. “He was annoyed after he heard about the removal of his post which clearly indicated that party high command wanted to cut short his powers,” Congress insiders said.