Deeply worried over the fresh spurt of violence in Jammu and Kashmir, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met late on Sunday to take stock of the situation, even as speculation swirled in Srinagar that a spell of governor’s rule was in the offing.
This is the second time in four weeks that the CCS has met to discuss Kashmir. Among those who attended were finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, home minister P. Chidambaram and defence minister AK Antony. After an hour-long meeting at the PM’s residence, the committee decided to summon Chief Minister Omar Abdullah immediately to Delhi.
Inputs from various intelligence agencies, the report from state governor NN Vohra and the Jammu and Kashmir government were all closely looked at.
The prime minister may even consult Opposition parties soon on the situation to convey the message that political opinion in the country is united on Kashmir.
Meanwhile, the buzz in the Valley all day was that Abdullah was likely to be replaced shortly as chief minister.
Highly-placed sources in the ruling National Conference-Congress coalition said that the Centre was contemplating imposition of governor’s rule.
“Everybody in Delhi knows that Omar has failed. No one would want to take over as chief minister in a situation like this. So, those who matter in Delhi are discussing governor’s rule,” said a senior state leader, who did not want to be named.
“Omar Abdullah alone cannot be blamed,” countered Congress state president Saifuddin Soz. “There are many other actors and factors responsible.”
Highly-placed sources in the Congress said Delhi had last month given a green signal for reshuffle in the state cabinet and asked Abdullah to drop ministers both in his party and the Congress who were tainted or had corruption charges against them. But he did not do it. The reason many said could be the infighting in the Congress, as most of the tainted ministers are those opposed to Soz.
If the government decides to impose governor’s rule, it will be the second time in two years that the state will have no elected government. With no party willing to form government in Kashmir after the collapse of the Ghulam Nabi Azad-led government in July 2008, following the Amarnath land row, governor’s rule was imposed.