Days after Congress President Sonia Gandhi gave a green signal to the state cabinet expansion plans; the party has reportedly asked Chief Minster Omar Abdulah to seek a date for the much awaited expansion from Governor N. N Vohra, who is currently out of state.
Party sources however told KNS that the swearing in ceremony for the new entrants might possibly take place on 15th of this month, in case the Governor returned to Jammu by then. “The green signal we all were waiting for has finally come from 10 Janpath and it is most likely that a new cabinet may take shape on Jan 15, however, it may get delayed in case the Governor was not available by then”, a senior minster in the Omar led government told KNS on the condition of anonymity. It will be for the first time since Omar Abdullah took office in 2008 that his cabinet would be reshuffled.
Pertinently various leaders and legislators of the congress party have been pressing for expansion and reshuffle over years, and their desire seemed finally becoming a reality when party state president Prof. Saif ud din Soz, along with former Chief Minster and union Minster Gh Nabi Azad, Political advisor to UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi Ahmad Patel and JK affairs in charge Mohan Prakash dropped at Sonia’s residence last week with a proposal seeking permission for reshuffle and expansion.
JK affairs incharge Mohan Prakash had confirmed that they had met Mrs Gandhi and the reshuffle issue was discussed apart from other issues. “You would know a positive outcome of meeting very shortly”, Prakash had told KNS last week.
If sources are to be believed, Former Minister G M Saroori is likely to regain his ministerial berth whereas another colleague of his in the Assembly from Doda region may also find a place in the cabinet.
However another senior congress minster told KNS that the reshuffle would be a minor one and there was all possibility of induction of two faces from Doda region. He added that Congress president Sonia Ghandi had shot a letter to chief Minster Omar Abdullah seeking performance appraisal of her ministers in the cabinet. The minister said that it was only after she received the performance report from CM that she gave her nod to the reshuffle and expansion.
Pertinently, the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is said to have met the JKPCC Chief Saifuddin Soz Sunday at Jammu to discuss modalities for the expansion along with possible dates for swearing in new entrants into the state cabinet.
Meanwhile NC Additional General Secretary Dr. Mustafa Kamal told KNS that it was the prerogative of Omar Abdullah to decide about the change of faces and portfolios for NC in the cabinet. “I have also read it in newspapers but let me tell you, if there was anything, it would be only Omar himself to take a call on it”, said Kamal.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister, according to sources, was expected to take inputs from party leaders on changes in the cabinet from the National Conference quota for arriving at a decision to take a final call on the reshuffle. However, he had to cancel the all important dinner party with his party legislators, minister and senior leaders today to attend an emergency meeting at Srinagar to take stock of situation in the backdrop of recent incidents of attacks on panchayat members apart from situation emanating out of tension on the Line of Control dividing the two parts of Kashmir.