PDP Against Inducting Lone In Cabinet

27 February 2015
The Indian Express
Mir Ehsan

Srinagar: As PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed gets ready to take oath as J&K Chief Minister on Sunday along with 25 ministers, the PDP has expressed last minute reservations over the inclusion of Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone in the cabinet. Sajad Lone, whose party Peoples Conference won two assembly seats - Handwara and Kupwara, was an alliance partner of the BJP in the Valley. Sajad was tipped to be given an important portfolio under the BJP quota. Before assembly elections, Sajad even held a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During campaign, he was criticised by the PDP, the Congress and the NC for allying with the BJP. Sources told The Indian Express that the BJP has kept Sajad's name in the list of 12 portfolios that will be BJP's share in the J&K cabinet. However sources said that PDP leaders have expressed its reservations over Sajad's inclusion as the PDP considers him a political opponent in the Valley's North Kashmir region. 'Till now Sajad Lone's name is in the list of BJP ministers but PDP leadership has expressed its reservations. We are trying to motivate PDP leaders as Sajad is very important ally for us,' a senior BJP leader said. Sources said that Sajad is still in Srinagar and has not left for Jammu where Mufti Mohammed Sayeed will take oath on Sunday. BJP leaders, however, said that they are hopeful that he will be included in the cabinet and will be the third Muslim face from BJP quota who will be minister in the state.