Kashmir’s ruling alliance finally averts crisis over new admin units

Kashmir’s ruling alliance finally averts crisis over new admin units

omar 1Jammu and Kashmir’s National Conference (NC)-Congress alliance headed by Omar Abdullah Wednesday resolved the deadlock over the creation of new administrative units in the state after NC patron and union minister Farooq Abdullah invoked the intervention of 10 Janpath.

Authoritative sources told IANS Omar Abdullah and his father finally managed the intervention of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi to shoot down the dissent within the state Congress unit over the creation of the new administrative units.

On the instructions of the Congress high command, four Kashmir ministers who are members of a cabinet sub-committee on the new administrative units remained closeted in a meeting that ended around 9.30 p.m. Tuesday at the residence of Ambika Soni, the Congress general secretary in-charge party’s Kashmir affairs.

The meeting was also attended by Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kashmir Congress president Saif-ud-Din Soz.

The four ministers who attended the meeting included Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Irrigation and Flood Control Minister Sham Lal Sharma and Urban Development Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora of the Congress, and Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir, who is a Congress nominee in the cabinet.

“The deadlock was finally resolved after the sub-committee members were advised to submit their report to the cabinet recommending over 2,000 new administrative units in the state,” top Congress sources told IANS.

The state government had set up a commission which had recommended 900 new administrative units and the NC wanted to go ahead with this.

The state Congress leaders had been terming the move “politically motivated as it would benefit only the NC in the Valley and damage the political base of the Congress in the Jammu region”.

Now that the Congress high command has stepped in, this is believed to have addressed the state party’s concerns “of a holistic and equitable approach” to setting up the new administrative units, as a Congress minister put it without agreeing to be named.

Omar Abdullah, who went to summer capital Srinagar Tuesday and then decided to spend the night at north Kashmir’s Gulmarg ski resort, has been asked to come to New Delhi Wednesday after the storm over the new administrative units finally settled down.

Highly placed sources said Farooq Abdullah, who played a crucial role in bridging the gap between the Congress and the NC with his proximity to 10 Janpath, spoke to Omar Abdullah late Tuesday evening informing him that the crisis had been resolved and that he must come to New Delhi on Wednesday.

After Tuesday’s late evening meeting at Ambika Soni’s residence in New Delhi, the Kashmir ministers returned to winter capital Jammu on Wednesday.

Omar Abdullah had walked out of the cabinet sub-committee meeting here on January 24 after its Congress members told him the report on their recommendations was still not ready.

The cabinet meeting was re-scheduled for February 1 without conducting any other business as Omar Abdullah said he would go ahead with the creation of new administrative units across the state at “any cost”.

The chief minister also said the next meeting of the cabinet would conduct no other business except discussing the cabinet sub-committee’s report, for which Omar Abdullah had reluctantly given a week’s time to be submitted.

Even though the crisis seems to have been averted, the larger issue of whether or not the two should announce a pre-poll alliance for the Lok Sabha and state assembly elections still hangs fire.

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