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Cong factions furious over delay in cabinet expansion
SRINAGAR, Sep 16 : Voices of dissent are growing louder and stronger within Congress for not conceding to the leaders’ and workers’ demands to ask its ally National Conference (NC) to return the Education and R&B portfolios.

According to a local news agency, KNS, Congress high command in Delhi has swung into damage control mode with union health minister and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad putting- off his scheduled visit to state on Monday.

Azad was to arrive on Monday in Srinagar. However, he will be now visiting 10 days later on September 27. Sources in the state Congress Party told KNS, that Azad did not want to be caught in a catch 22, situation as various senior party workers and leaders known to be loyal to him were planning to express their rage against him during his visit. “We have been loyal to him since day one, but he has not done enough for pressing hard on party high command to yield to our demands and requests,” a senior Congress leader told KNS, adding that Congress was losing ground in various strongholds, including Azad’s own home district.

“How could you expect people to vote for us when they know we are helpless before National Conference,” lamented the leader. He added that Azad’s period as president of the state congress and then as chief minister was the ‘best’ period for the party and it was during this period that it actually not only reorganized but also surfaced as a strong and decisive force in the government formation in a state that actually saw a drift from single party system to a coalition era post 2002.

Pertinently Congress has two vacancies available in the Omar Abdullah Cabinet in addition to R&B and Education which are lying with Chief Minster for last more than a year.

As National Conference has been maintain that it has nothing to do with the cabinet expansion involving the inclusion of Congress MLAs, Congress sources said that it was the growing factionalism and rift within the party that was making the selection for the high command a challenging job. But now when certain influential MLA’s and workers have openly come out against the party leaders, sources suggest, Party High Command has began to at least think about it.

Meanwhile, sources close to 10 Janpath Road told KNS, that the Chief Minister Omar Abdulllah may be landing in the national Capital very soon to hold deliberations with Congress top brass on the issue, and it is likely that the return of education and R&B portfolios at least may take place after the forthcoming assembly session.

The Congress high command though has preferred to remain tight lipped over the developments, its state Chief Prof. Saif ud din Soz outrightly refused to have any knowledge about the developments. “I have no information, whatsoever regarding this,” Soz told KNS from New Delhi on Sunday evening. However Senior Congress leader and in charge Kashmir affairs Mohan Prakash had some other thing to offer, “I am in Gujarat, will let you know about the developments tomorrow,” Prakash told KNS over phone.

Deputy Chief Minster and senior Congress leader Tara Chand said that it was the high command that has to take a call on the issue and their (High command’s) decision was binding on all in the party.

News Updated at : Monday, September 17, 2012
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