Omar knew of portfolio move, claims Soz | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Omar knew of portfolio move, claims Soz

After angering Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah by announcing the portfolios of newly inducted ministers in contravention of governmental practice on Saturday, state Congress chief Saifuddin Soz sought to extricate himself from the controversy on Monday.

delhi Updated: Jul 14, 2009 01:23 IST
HT Correspondents

After angering Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah by announcing the portfolios of newly inducted ministers in contravention of governmental practice on Saturday, state Congress chief Saifuddin Soz sought to extricate himself from the controversy on Monday.

Soz told HT he had announced the portfolios after learning of the “rebellion” by Congress Legislature Party leader Choudhary Mohammed Aslam. The CLP leader had resigned over non-inclusion in the cabinet expansion.

Soz said he rushed to hold a press conference to announce that Aslam would be chairman of the Gujjar and Bakerwal Board with cabinet status. “I told the CM that a crisis had arisen and I would have to calm tempers by making the announcement,” he said.

However, Aslam, considered close to Azad, rejected the proposal, saying he wouldn’t accept anything but a cabinet berth.

He blamed his non-inclusion on Soz and Union minister Prithviraj Chavan, who is also the Congress general secretary in charge of J&K.

“Soz and Chavan played a major role in my non-induction. I’m sure my name was in the list till Saturday morning,” Aslam said.

Chavan was unavailable for comment but Soz said, “I feel sad when people say I am involved in any rift.”