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Baig set to be J&K deputy CM

Senior PDP leader Muzzaffar Hussain Baig will be re-inducted as deputy chief minister on Monday, reports Arun Joshi.

india Updated: Dec 10, 2007 02:41 IST
Arun Joshi

Senior PDP leader Muzzaffar Hussain Baig will be re-inducted as deputy chief minister on Monday after nearly 15 months, filling the vacancy caused by his resignation from the ministry in September last year.

Baig would be the only one to be inducted tomorrow, as Congress is in the process of filling up the three vacant seats by this month end, soon after the Gujarat elections, party sources said to the Hindustan Times.

The PDP, however, has said that it would like to induct its man shortly, while Congress can take its own time in filling up the vacancies.

Baig returns to the ministry with the major portfolios - Tourism, Planning, Law and Parliamentary Affairs - that he held earlier.

However, the finance portfolio that he held during his earlier stint would continue to be with Tariq Hameed Karra. Karra will be the Housing and Urban Development Minister, while Qazi Mohammad Afzal will get back the Forest portfolio.

When asked as to what has prompted the PDP to go in for this arrangement, especially after the differences the top party leadership had with Baig, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said, “Those issues have been sorted out.”

“That was an unpleasant decision (recall of Baig from the ministry and his removal from the position of the PDP legislature party in August last year). But we had wanted to reverse that at an appropriate time and I believe that the appropriate time has come,” Mufti said.

The PDP was feeling the pinch with the absence of Qazi Mohammad Afzal who had resigned and refused to take up his duties as a minister after he was stripped of the forest portfolio in September this year.

The political cycle has turned full circle for Baig since his removal as the deputy chief minister and leader of the PDP legislature party leader on August 30 last year, when he was suspected of having prevailed over the chief minister having allocated him the portfolios of Finance, Planning and Law and Parliamentary Affairs against the recommended portfolios of Housing and Urban Development by
the PDP leadership.

The PDP leadership relented on Baig’s re-induction with most of his previously held portfolios when it was discovered that he would add to “effectiveness” and profile of the PDP in the Government, party sources said.