Kashmir Congress wants rotational chief minister

Jammu : Congress, the ruling alliance partner of National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir, has stepped up its campaign for rotational chief ministership, seeking its own party leader for the post.

A faction of the party led by Pradesh Congress Committee president Saifuddin Soz has started holding rallies where Soz himself maintains silence on the issue, while other leaders make it a point to rake up the issue.

“It is imperative to have a Congress chief minister as Omar Abdullah has completed three years in office,” senior unit vice president Mangat Ram Sharma has been saying at rallies here.

At a rally in Sangrama in north Kashmir, former state unit president of Youth Congress Shoaib Lone went to the extent of declaring Soz the next chief minister. “He (Soz) is the leader who can change the destiny of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

Asked to comment on this, Soz has said: “The party workers have the right to air their views.”

His latest comment on the issue has been: “It’s for the party high command to decide.”

Abdullah completes three years in office Jan 5. The Jammu and Kashmir assembly has a term of six years.

National Conference maintains that Abdullah would be the chief minister for a full six years.

“This is the agreement of the party with the Congress high command and there is no change in it,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar said

But the Congress is firm. A minister close to Soz said there were two reasons for their demand of change of guard.

“Firstly, Omar has completed his first three years in office.” Secondly, “the Congress has its own political interests to guard and it must take the frontline role in the government to do so”, he said.

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