NC Goes For 'revamp', Loyalist Sagar Appointed General Secretary

2 June 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Azhar Qadri

Srinagar: The ruling National Conference (NC), which faced a rout in the recently held parliamentary elections, has initiated the process of restructuring the party and appointed Rural Development Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar as the new general secretary. Highly placed sources said Sagar, a senior party leader and legislator from the Khanyar Assembly constituency of Srinagar district, had been appointed as the general secretary at a high-level meeting today. The meeting was chaired by NC president Farooq Abdullah, the sources said. Sagar replaced Sheikh Nazir, who is Farooq's cousin and has been the party's general secretary since early 1990s. Sagar is an NC loyalist and is considered close to the party's 'old guard'. The sources said Nazir - the oldest member of the Abdullah family - had been appointed as the party's patron. There was, however, no official confirmation or statement from the National Conference about the development and most of the party officials neither confirmed nor denied the new appointment. The restructuring of the ruling party comes a few weeks after it faced a rout in the parliamentary election in which it lost all three constituencies on which it contested. Following the defeat, the NC held a lengthy introspection amid growing clamour for change in the party administration and government policy. Sources said several 'large-scale' changes in the party were likely to take place in the coming days. They said a major overhaul of the administration, including the Police Department, was also expected soon. 'We have held deliberations in recent days and weeks and identified the reasons for our debacle. Now, change is must and it will happen,' said a senior party official on the condition of anonymity. Sagar's new appointment is the likely beginning of the transfer of the party's administration to the 'old guard' ahead of the Legislative Assembly elections. The National Conference is struggling against time to prevent a repeat of the result of the parliamentary elections in the Assembly polls, scheduled at the year-end. Mustafa Kamal, who is the additional general secretary of the party, is likely to be given an important decision-making post in the party while the fate of the incumbent provincial president for the Kashmir zone is in a limbo, the sources said. After the rout in the parliamentary elections, Farooq took over the active command of the party. He chaired a series of meetings with the party's core group, workers and the youth wing to assess the cause of the 'debacle'.