Trouble appears to be brewing in the ruling National Conference-Congress coalition in Jammu and Kashmir, as the issue of rotational chief ministership has once again come to haunt the two allies.
That the relations between the alliance partners have hit the rough patch yet again came to the fore, during Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's two-day visit to the state on September 26 and 27.
Sources said the issue of rotation of chief minister followed Gandhi wherever he went - from Kargil to Srinagar and Rajouri to Jammu.
With chief minister Omar Abdullah, set to complete three years in office on January 5 next year, the Congress leaders and workers have stepped up the demand for handing over the top post to their party on rotational basis.
They argue that the Congress should be given the post for the next three years as was done in the case of their party's alliance with the People's Democratic Party (PDP) from 2002-08.
"NC has outlived its utility….it's the turn of Congress now to take the lead role in the coalition. Having 27 seats in the assembly is not the mandate to rule the state for 6 years," said senior J&K Congress leader Ashok Bhan.
At many places, the sources said, not only Congress leaders even the common man complained to Gandhi about "mis-governance and deep-rooted corruption" in the state.
For instance in Kargil, the people on the roads confronted Gandhi for defending Abdullah despite his "failure to check" the summer street outpourings in the valley last year.
The Gandhi scion had firmly backed Abdullah in September last year when calls for his removal had gained momentum, arguing that he was doing a "tough" job and hence should be given "time and support to combat the situation" in J&K.
But this time he was cautious.
"As far as demand for rotational chief ministership is concerned, the party high command will decide it," Gandhi said.
Interacting with Rahul Gandhi in Jammu and Srinagar, many sarpanchs and panchs accused the NC of "destroying the Congress in the state in a systematic and organised manner".