With less than two years to go for the next assembly elections in 2014, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah opted for the third and possibly the last reshuffle of his council of ministers. He dropped seven ministers – six from NC and one from Congress, and inducted 10 new ministers.
Of the ten ministers six are cabinet ministers, three are Ministers of State with independent charge and one is MoS. Four cabinet ministers are from NC and two from Congress. Of the ministers of state only one belongs to Congress and the rest three are from NC.
Here is the brief profile of the additions that Omar made to his council on Tuesday.
Mohammad Akbar Lone (NC)
A lawyer, who would become news while holding the state legislative assembly as its Speaker, Mohammad Akbar Lone was born on February 17, 1947 at Naidkhai in erstwhile Baramulla, now falling in Bandipore. He was a political activist during his student days and retained the interest after graduating in law and starting practice locally.
Lone contested Assembly elections thrice in 1972, 1977 and 1983 on NC, Janata Party and People’s Conference tickets respectively and lost all the elections. He later joined NC in 1987 and lost another election in 1996 to Kukka Parray.
He was elected to the assembly in 2002 and was subsequently elected as deputy speaker of the Legislative Assembly. In 2008 Assembly elections, he won from Sonawari constituency that witness 59.95 poll percentages. Out of total 84,402 votes in his constituency, 50,595 were polled and he smiled his way with 12,157 voting margin. He was elected speaker of the state assembly. It was here that actually introduced Lone as a political heavyweight though he would land in controversy for most of the sessions he presided over.
Ajay Kumar Sadhotra (NC)
Born in Jammu on December 29, 1956 Sadhotra is a law graduate. He joined NC and unsuccessfully contested 1983 assembly elections. He held number of positions in NC which include central working committee, secretary and member national youth council. Till recently he led NC at provincial level in Jammu.
Sadhotra was elected to Assembly in 1996, held independent charge of rural development minister and provincial president of NC Jammu.
He was defeated in 2008 elections by BJP’s Choudhary Sukhnandan who won from Marh by a margin of 6581 votes. While Sukhnandan polled 18,368 votes, NC leader and former Minister Ajay Sadhotra got 11,787 votes.
Sadhotra was later elected to the state legislative council.
Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan (NC)
This law graduate from Handwara constituency was born on June 27, 1953 and from the very beginning of his political career, he remained associated with NC. Previously he held posts like provincial working committee and as member of the central working committee under NC.
Ramzan was elected to the assembly in 1983 and 1987 elections. Initially, he was taken as Minister of State, Industries & Commerce and later became Forests Minister in the Farooq Abdullah Government in 1996.
He won with victory margins of 11,590 votes in 2008 out of total polling votes 57,678. His constituency witnessed 75.55 voting percentage out of total voting strength of 76,349 votes.
During his last tenure as forest minister he was accused of running riot with a World Bank funded Integrated Watershed Development project (IWDP) that was later not extended for the second phase.
Mir Saifullah (NC)
This law graduate was born in 1962 at Shumnagh in Kupwara and had political baptism very early in his career. He served as secretary, KU Students Union and has also been Block President of NC, Kupwara.
Mir was elected to the Assembly for the first time in 1996. He has also held pivotal positions like Chairman, Subordinate Legislative Committee.
In 2008, his constituency recorded a total votes of 88,942 out of which 55,525 were polled with polling percentage of about 62.43. He emerged victorious with 5,182 votes.
An impressive debator, he had already bagged the best debator’s award in the state assembly. He makes himself a distinguished lawmaker who always comes prepared to the house. Regardless of a “small” controversy he was involved in, Mir will get the first chance of his career to change the system he visualizes.
Ghulam Ahmad Mir (Congress)
This congress leader was born in 1956 at Damhal in south Kashmir Islamabad. Mir who is a graduate, started his political career as District youth congress leader. He later shifted to Delhi where he would work with some of the veteran Congressmen that helped him create a lot of influence.
He was elected to Assembly in 2002 and became MoS for Tourism and in 2008 Assembly elections, he retained his berth on congress ticket.
Representing Doru constituency, he won with victory margin of 5,918 votes in 2008. Out of total 62,862 votes, 69.76 voting percentage was recorded in his constituency in 2008 with total polled votes stand at 43,855.
Mir as a junior minister in Ghulam Nabi Azad led government was arrested by the CBI in sensational sleaze racket. Last autumn, Mir was exonerated by the trial court in Chandigarh.
Abdul Majid Wani (Congress)
This 12th class studied Congress minister was born in April 1960 in village Bharat, Doda. He started career as a social worker and subsequently contested Assembly elections in 2002 as an independent candidate. He retained his berth in Assembly in 2008 elections on congress ticket.
He is from Doda Constituency that has 71,459 recorded votes. He won with 7,152 votes in 2008. In last Assembly elections, his constituency saw 73.04 voting percentage and total votes polled then stand at 52,196.
Wani belongs to a forest lesse family in Doda that is considered to be one of the wealthiest in J&K.
Nazir Ahmad Khan (NC)
This NC candidate from Gurez was born on December 31, 1966. Being a graduate, he joined the politics at a very young age and contested 1996 Assembly and 1999 parliamentary elections where he lost. Nazir Gurezi, who left the post of Secretary General in Janata Dal joined NC and in 2002, he was elected to the Assembly on NC ticket.
His constituency – Gurez declared him winner in 2008 Assembly elections with victory margin of 732 votes. Out of 15,390 votes in Gurez, 11,392 were polled in 2008 with polling percentage at 74.02.
Gurezi, a hyper-active political worker, is perhaps the first ever minister that would represent Gurez in any council of ministers.
Feroz Ahmad Khan (NC)
This NC leader from Zanskar was born on October 23, 1967 at Silmo, Kargil. Graduate in Commerce, Khan has worked with international voluntary organization ‘Save the Children’ for six years as a project officer. He remained sarpanch of Silmo in 2005 and was elected twice unopposed as Councillor from Silma in LAHDC in 2003 and 2008. He won the 2008 polls on NC ticket from Zanskar.
His constituency – Zanskar recorded 20,275 votes in 2008 out of which polled votes stand at 14,652. With poll percentage recorded 72.27, Khan won the election in 2008 with 918 voting margins.
Sajjad Ahmad Kichloo (NC)
This education graduate lawmaker was born on June 20, 1964 at Kishtwar. He started his political career in 1996 and remained tehsil president of youth NC. Kitchloo is the scion of influential Kitchloo family. He replaced his father Bashir Ahmad Kitchloo who was one of the NC veterans.
Kichloo became district president in 1998 and retained the seat in 2008 Assembly elections.
He won 2008 Assembly elections by 2,465 voting margins from his Kishtwar constituency. Out of total 68,974 votes recorded 51,356 were polled with voting percentage of 74.46.
Vikar Rasool Wani (Congress)
This son of former MLC, Ghulam Rasool Banihali was born on February 22, 1976. Wani steadily risen in the party ranks and subsequently became district vice president of congress in 1999.
He remained block president of Pradesh congress committee in 2002 and vice president of youth congress, J&K in 2004. After remaining chairman of municipal committee, Banihal, he was elected to 2008 Assembly elections.
He won 2008 Assembly elections from Banihal constituency by a voting margin of 3,033. His constituency recorded total 70,552 votes, out of which 47,683 votes were polled with polling percentage of 67.59.