SRINAGAR: Following differences with the PDP-BJP coalition Government, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary Mohammad Iqbal Khanday has decided to seek voluntary retirement. Sources said Khanday, who was to retire in November, has submitted an application in this regard to Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
They said Khanday decided to step down following sharp differences with Mufti Government.
In a major administration rejig on Friday, the Chief Minister, had at a Cabinet meeting held in Khanday’s absence, delegated B R Sharma to attend as Secretary to the Cabinet.
Sources said Khanday had requested for deferment of the Cabinet meeting by a day as he was at the condolence meeting of his brother’s grandson. However, the government rejected his plea and decided to go ahead with the meeting.
They said there were differences between Khanday, the CM and some Cabinet Ministers, which ultimately forced him to take a call for voluntary retirement.
Confirming the decision, Khanday said he had indeed sought voluntary retirement from service.
Khanday, who was considered close to Mufti, is an IAS officer of 1978 batch. He was appointed the Chief Secretary on February 18, 2013 during the tenure of the erstwhile NC-led Government headed by Omar Abdullah. Khanday had also served as Principal Secretary to Mufti Sayeed during his earlier stint as the Chief Minister in 2002. Sources said some of the PDP Ministers went over to Khanday in a bid to force a rethink. However, he refused to budge,they said.
Reacting to Khanday’s decision to step down, Omar tweeted: “Another sign that things in J&K aren’t going as smoothly as some people would like to have us believe.”