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J&K Congress eyes Chief Minister's post

State leaders raise demand for rotational CM in front of Karan Singh, Saifuddin Soz.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jun 15, 2011, 07.53 AM IST
SRINAGAR: A few days after Omar Abdullah asserted that he would remain Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir for six years, the state Congress leaders have demanded a three-year rotation at the top post. In the presence of state unit chief Saifuddin Soz, party Rajya Sabha member Karan Singh, and former minister Makhan Lal Fotedar, the local Congress leaders on Monday appealed to party high command to press for three-year term for Chief Minister to the Congress party. Omar Abdullah completes half of his six-year term by the end of 2011.

“The issue of who will be the Chief Minister in J&K is a closed chapter. This has been decided in 2009 itself. I do not know why certain sections in Congress are raising this issue from time to time,” Omar had said last week. However, Karan Singh told party workers, “I was here for past 10 days and met party leaders and people and listened to their suggestions . I assure you I will take up your suggestions with Sonia ji. I will always seek betterment of the party in J&K ,” Singh said in the last coalition government that Congress had with the Peoples Democratic Party, it was decided that Mufti Sayeed should run the government for six years. But after the cadres got restive, he took up the issue with the high command. “I explained to them that why shall people vote for us if Congress is not given opportunity to run the government. My suggestions were accepted,” he said.

Terming Mufti Sayeed-led three years as “golden era in the history of the state” , Fotedar said the Congress was keen to continue Mufti's dispensation for the next three years but the decision “was changed at last minute” . He said the Congress Working Committee had even passed resolution for continuation of his term. “Kashmir issue would have ceased to exist had he (Mufti) been allowed to continue,” he said. Soz said the coalition was a “compulsion” and the issue of rotational CM will be decided by the party high command.

“The big issues will be taken care of by Sonia ji,” he said. The Congressmen said they stand reduced to a B-team in the ruling coalition. They alleged Omar is controlling the Congress flock by talking to high command directly. The two parties have exhibited different stands on the issue of Cabinet reshuffle and expansion . While Omar has said there is no room for any expansion , Soz said it has to happen. “I may not be able to tell you the dates, but it will happen,” he said.

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