Expansion Deepens Congress, NC Crisis

13 July 2009
Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: The resentment continues to brew in both the coalition parties, Congress and National Conference, over the non-inclusion of various leaders in the council of ministers during its expansion on Saturday. Sources said the Congress had formed a 3-member team head by its state chief, Prof Saif-ud-din Soz, to persuade senior leader, Choudhary Muhammad Aslam, to accept the chairmanship of Gujjar and Bakerwal Board for which the chief minister had agreed to vacate the top slot of the Board. However, Choudhary Aslam has already rejected the idea. “It was my idea to constitute the Board which is a nominated body. I am not representing only Gujjars. I am representing border districts of Poonch and Rajouri and people across the state have faith on me,” he said. Congress is wary of losing Choudhary as he has strong following in both the districts. When contacted, another Congress member, Abdul Gani Vakil, told Greater Kashmir that being a senior leader and the legislature party head, Choudhary Aslam should have been consulted on the issue. “Aslam is hurt and rightly so,” he said. Prof Soz was not available for comment. Protests continued in Kupwara and border districts of Rajouri and Poonch non inclusion former JKPCC Chief Chowdhary Mohammad Aslam in the ministry. In Surankote, home the constituency of Aslam, people staged protest at the main bus stand and obstructed vehicular traffic on Jammu Poonch highway. In Mehandher, a protest demonstration led by district Congress president, Choudary Zaffa-ullah, was also staged. Scores of people participated in the protest and raised slogans against the decision of excluding senior Congress leader. The Congress MLA from Baderwah, Muhammad Sharief Niaz, also came into the open against the party today and said it had rewarded G.M Saroori with a cabinet berth “although he helped the BJP during elections.” Meanwhile, sources said, some NC members had threatened to resign from the party if it continued with its “unsympathetic view” towards their “genuine demands.” Despite protests from NC party workers in Kupwara, they said, the NC leadership had not approached either Choudary Ramzan or Mir Saifullah so far. The lukewarm response to the agitation in Kupwara and Srinagar has added more fire the fuel, they added. “It is sad that despite our loyalty to the party, we have been left out and the leadership seems to be least concerned,” said an NC leader from Kupwara constituency on condition of anonymity. On the other hand, Sajjad Kichloo, MLA, Kisthwar, expressed anger over his non-inclusion although he declined to take any decisive step. “Yes, there is resentment among my workers against the decision but these things happen,” he told Greater Kashmir.