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Azad integral to J&K politics?
JAMMU, Sept 23: “I always have a role to play in state politics.”

That was the one-liner reply of the Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to assert his relevance in state politics.

He did not deem it fit to elaborate this one-liner further when confronted with a query as what role he visualized for himself in the state politics at present or in the future.

His one-liner assumed greater significance in wake of recent bout of speculations about likely change in his job profile at the central level and his pro-active mode in state politics.

He made yet another politically loaded statement though a bitter fact during his two-day visit to Jammu before flying back to the union capital, while paying glowing tributes to erstwhile ruler of the State late Maharaja Hari Singh on his birth anniversary here today.

Underlining the farsightedness of Maharaja Hari Singh and his monumental contribution in upgrading educational and health infrastructure in J&K, Azad pointed out, “Even after 65 years of independence, no Prime Minister, no Chief Minister could construct the big hospitals as got constructed by Maharaja both in Jammu and Srinagar in that era and which were still catering to the needs of entire provinces despite manifold increase in the population since then.”

Even the meetings of various deputations with the Union Minister during his tour had a surprise element as among the visitors who had come to see him (Azad) also included newly elected Chairman Jammu Citizens Cooperative Bank Limited Dinesh Gupta, besides his other colleagues.

Dinesh, just a couple of days ago, had joined Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu in the presence of the party patron Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. Sources stated that taken aback by his presence, Azad could not restrain himself from expressing surprise that Dinesh, who had joined PDP recently, was there to meet him.

Sources said that Dinesh reportedly confided in Azad certain concerns he (Dinesh) had about the Minister of State for Cooperatives Dr Manohar Lal Sharma stating that this prompted him to join PDP, though he was inclined towards Congress. Azad reportedly assured him that he (Azad) would take care of his concerns and Dinesh should revisit his decision as Congress was open to accept him in its fold.

Citizens’ Cooperative Bank Limited Chairman, however, was not available despite repeated attempts to confirm this meeting and the deliberations therein.

Sources stated that in the wake of speculations about cabinet reshuffle, during his meetings with party leaders owing allegiance to him, Azad reportedly gave a hint `approving’ the names of MLA Bhaderwah Mohammed Sharief Niaz, former R&B minister G M Saroori and MLA Vikar Rasool as probable contenders from Congress side.

Earlier in the morning, paying tributes to Maharaja Hari Singh, Azad said, “He got the big hospitals constructed both in Jammu as well in Srinagar, an achievement which nobody after him could parallel. Maaf Kijiyega 65 Saal Mein Hum Bhi Nahin Bana Paaye Unhi Say Guzaara Kar Rahey Hain ..Jo Bana Tha Uski Expansion Shuru Kar DiNaya Hamney Bhi Nahin Banaya…Kisi PM, Wazir-e-Aala Nay Itna Bada Hospital nahin Banaya Na Srinagar Mein Na Jammu Mein..”

Lauding Maharaja’s contribution in this sector, Azad said that it was a great achievement to get such big hospitals constructed at that time and which even 65 years after independence were catering to the needs of two provinces despite manifold increase in their population. Similarly his contribution in the education sector was unparalleled, Azad said.

News Updated at : Tuesday, September 25, 2012
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