No Rotation Of CM's Post, Says Omar Abdullah

2 January 2009
The Hindu


New Delhi: With the National Conference-Congress coalition government all set to be sworn in on January five, J-K Chief Minister-designate Omar Abdullah on Thursday said there would be no rotation of the post and that his deputy would be from Congress. Omar also thanked Congress president Sonia Gandhi who he said 'was kind enough' to understand the fallouts of a rotational arrangement for the CM's post and asserted that there were no pre-conditions to this coalition. 'The rotation issue did come up during the discussion but Congress President Sonia Gandhi was kind enough to understand the point of view that rotation was damaging to the state and created uncertainty and confusion,' Omar told reporters here when asked if there would be a set-up similar to the one in the previous Congress-PDP government in J-K. Omar, who was here to work out the nitty gritty of the new coalition government with Congress leaders said, 'The Deputy Chief Minister will be from Congress.' On who could be chosen for the post, the NC chief said 'It is purely an internal matter of the Congress... and I hope that person takes oath along with me.' On the strength of his cabinet, Omar said 'About two leaders from my party and if Congress finds its appropriate their two ministers and deputy chief ministers will also take oath with us'. The 38-year-old Omar, who would soon become J&K's youngest Chief Minister, said the break-up of portfolios is yet to be decided. Meanwhile, Congress sources said that NC will soon join the UPA. Congress sources said Omar had written to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi expressing his party's desire to join the UPA. The NC has two members in the Lok Sabha. Today's meeting was in continuation of yesterday's 90-minute talks among leaders from NC and Congress in the capital to decide on a joint mechanism to review the performance of the government. Omar said it was a routine meeting before the government formation to discuss core issues on which this coalition was formed. The meeting at the South Block was attended by Union Ministers A K Antony, Saifuddin Soz, former J&K CM Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress in-charge for J&K affairs Prithviraj Chavan and Congress President's political secretary Ahmad Patel. From NC's side, Omar was assisted by his senior party colleagues.