7 Axed, 10 Added As Cabinet Gets New Look For Polls

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Mir Saifullah, Nazir Gurezi, Feroz Khan, Sajjad Kithcloo, Waqar Rasool, Majeed Wani Brought As Fresh Blood

SRINAGAR: Seven members of the state’s council of ministers were on Tuesday shown the door and 10 new members inducted into the cabinet to give the four-year-old coalition government a new look as it gears up to face assembly polls two years on.

Seven new ministers from NC and three from the Congress were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor NN Vohra at the Raj Bhavan in Jammu this afternoon in an exercise that left the powerful Ali Muhammad Sagar and Abdul Rahim Rathar untouched, and speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone with a cabinet berth.

Those dropped include Qamar Ali Akhoon, Nasir Aslam Wani (Sogami), SS Slathia, Abdul Ghani Malik, Agha Ruhullah, Javed Ahmad Dar and RS Chib.

All but four of the new entrants have been sworn in as cabinet ministers, three as ministers of state with independent charge and one as minister of state.  

Lone, Chaudhary Muhammad Ramzan, Ajay Kumar Sadhotra, Ghulam Ahmad Mir, Abdul Majeed Wani and Mir Saifullah have secured cabinet ranks, while Sajjad Ahmad Kitchloo, Feroz Ahmad Khan, and Nazir Ahmad Khan (Gurezi) will be ministers of state with independent charge, with Waqar Rasool as minister of state.

The portfolios of the new ministers are to be announced subsequently.

Mir, Wani, and Waqar Rasool are from the Congress.

Sadhotra, from Jammu, has made a comeback in the state cabinet after eleven years. So has Chaudhary Ramzan, who was a cabinet minister in the last NC government led by Dr Farooq Abdullah.

Mir Saifullah, Nazir Gurezi, Feroz Ahmad Khan and Sajjad Ahmad Kitchloo from National Conference, and Waqar Rasool and Abdul Majid Wani of Congress are the new faces in the council of ministers. Wani was a junior minister in the Mufti-led  coalition government.

This is for the first time that Gurez Zanskar and Banihal have got representation at the ministerial level.

Earlier, seven ministers from the erstwhile cabinet handed over their resignations to the chief minister Omar Abdullah which were accepted by the Governor, paving the way for the new entrants.

The National Conference today made it clear that the cabinet reshuffle was aimed at strengthening the party rather than based on performance of any of its ministers.

First Lady Usha Vohra, chief minister Omar Abdullah,  deputy chief minister Tara Chand, the chairman of the Legislative Council Amrit Malhotra, his deputy, M. Y. Taing, state Congress chief and MP Prof. Saif-ud-Din Soz, the state’s members of parliament, Mohan Prakash, general secretary AICC in-charge J&K, legislators; the chief executive councillors of the Leh and Kargil Hill Development Councils, chief secretary Madhav Lal, the director general of police Ashok Prasad, senior civil and police officers, political leaders and prominent citizens were present at the swearing-in ceremony.

Meanwhile, the government today nominated Kafeel-ur-Rehman, MLA Karnah, as the vice-chairman of the advisory board for the Development of Pahari Speaking People. He would have the status of a minister of state.  According to another order, the government nominated Radhay Sham Sharma, MLA Nowshera, as the vice chairman of the advisory board for the Development of Kisans in the state. He too would have the status of a minister of state. 

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