SRINAGAR: The ruling alliance partners in Jammu and Kashmir government – National Conference and Congress – are involved in war of words over Omar Abdullah’s six year tenure and accusing each other of “black mailing”.
The war of words started on Friday (October 24) when senior Congress leader and PHE and Flood Control Minister Sham Lal Sharma submitted his resignation from council of ministers to State Congress chief Saif-ud-Din Soz and accused NC ministers – Finance Minister Abdur Rahim Rather and Higher Education Minister Ghulam Nabi Lone of resorting to “blackmailing” and “discrimination” against daily wage and casual workers of Jammu region in PHE department.
He alleged that NC ministers pressurized him to regularize their favorite persons in the PHE department.
“One of the minister (Lone) gave me a list of 500 persons, whom he wanted to be regularized in my department. Finance Minister Rather intentionally adopted dillydallying tactics on regularization of casual labourers and need based workers. The NC ministers resorted to blackmailing tactics for seeking adjustment of their favourites,” added Sharma.
On Saturday, senior Congress leader and former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said his party is paying the price of unpopularity in J&K because of its alliance with NC and the present government headed by Omar has lost the people's confidence.
He regretted Congress decision to allow Omar to rule the state for a full term of six years. “We should have insisted on 2002 power-sharing formula on rotational CM”.
“Things for Congress would have been promising had Congress not allowed Omar to continue to lead the coalition government after January 4, 2012, when he completed three years in office,” Azad said.
Reacting to Congress leaders’ allegations, NC spokesman Junaid Mattoo said Azad is blaming his party for a decision that Congress High Command and Azad were party to.
“Congress did not get the mandate for rotational CM’s seat in 2008. NC emerged as single largest party with 28 MLAs and Congress had only 17 MLAs. The decision to allow NC to have CM’s chair for six years was taken on logic and merit. This decision was mutually taken by NC leadership and Congress High Command and at that time Azad not only endorsed the decision but was a party to the decision,” he said.
Terming Azad’s remarks as unfortunate and politically convenient, NC spokesman said Congress has held key cabinet portfolios in J&K coalition government and if Azad wants to find misplaced excuses for his party’s self-admitted and acknowledged weakness, he should find relevant and logical excuses.
On Congress minister’s allegation of NC ministers blackmailing him, senior NC leader and Finance Minister Abdur Rahim Rather termed his statement as totally misconceived and far from truth.
He denied of ever asking him (Sham Lal Sharma) to regularize anybody in the departments under his charge. “I have not got engaged even a single person on need/casual basis in R&B, PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control departments. So the question of putting pressure for regularization of my favorites does not arise at all,” he said and challenged Sharma to name any person in this regard.