In a move reminiscent of the decision taken by then chief minister Dr Farooq Abdullah in 1982, though with a slight deviation, chief minister Omar Abdullah had sought resignation of all ministers of the National Conference, including advisors and heads of advisory boards, who were holding ministerial status. The new cabinet is most likely to be announced on January 15.
The move is being viewed as an attempt to rejig the party and infuse fresh faces in the cabinet ahead of the assembly elections scheduled in 2014.
"We received a verbal communication from the office of political adviser to the CM to tender resignation on Monday morning and then attend the dinner to be hosted by the chief minister in the evening," said a NC minister, wishing not to be named.
"We will accordingly tender resignation at the party office on Monday morning and then it will be forwarded to the secretariat," the source said.
The NC had 10 ministers and, two advisers to the chief minister and three vice-chairman of different advisery boards holding ministerial status.
It is for the first time in parliamentary history of the state that a chief minister had sought resignation of all this ministers. Though Dr Farooq Abdullah after becoming the chief minister in September 1982 after the death of the late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah had dropped all close aides of the Sheikh Abdullah in the new cabinet formed after assuming chair.
Political heavyweights like GM Shah, who was brother-in-law of Farooq Abdullah, and DD Thakur, Ghulam Ahmad Kochak and GM Bharderwahi were dropped.
It was because of this decision that these heavyweights parted ways with Dr Farooq Abdullah in 1984 and his government was reduced to minority. GM was made chief minister, on the support of the Congress, and DD Thakur deputy chief minister.
According to sources, the decision has been taken by chief minster Omar Abdullah, who is also acting president of the NC. NC patron and union minister Dr Farooq Abdullah hasn't been keeping well for quite sometime.
The stamp of his (Omar) authority in this decision is reflected in the tweet made by him late last evening. He had tweeted: "Dear aspiring ministers, please don't come and ask me to make you ministers. Trust the Almighty and your destiny, leave the rest to me."
A section of the NC leadership believes that portfolios of all the ministers would be reshuffled. "On Friday, we received an intimation to attend a dinner to be hosted by the chief minister. We thought it may be in connection with the Lohri celebrations. We had no clue, however, today we received this communication. We had no clue of this coming," said another NC minister.
The chief minister had already said 2013 was the year for doing maximum groundwork and highlight the achievements of the party among people.
"In 2014 there won't be much of time as code of conduct would come into affect and also parliamentary elections would also be there. Whatever work had to be done had to be done in 2013," the chief minister had told party leaders at meeting at his residence in December.