The ruling alliance between the Congress and the National Conference (NC) in Jammu and Kashmir may split soon over the issue of formation of administrative units in the state. Chief minister Omar Abdullah is considering resigning following sharp differences between the two parties, sources in the NC said on Tuesday.
The state leadership of the Congress is stonewalling Abdullah's cherished scheme of creating some 700 new administrative units in the state ahead of the April-May Lok Sabha polls and the scheduled assembly elections in October- November later this year.
The Mushtaq Ahmad Ganai Committee had recommended the setting up of 23 new sub-divisions, 57 tehsils, 63 CD blocks, 79 niabats and 733 patwar halqas. Among the 23 new sub-divisions, the committee had recommended 10 for Jammu, 12 for Kashmir and one for the Ladakh region. The J&K government later set up a cabinet sub-committee after the Congress said the committee had ignored a few areas in its report.
The sub-committee, comprising deputy chief minister Tara Chand and ministers Ghulam Ahmed Mir and Nawang Rigzin Jora among others, however, failed to submit its report within the deadline. Abdullah on Saturday said he had given a week’s extension to the sub-committee for submitting its recommendations.
"While I rather reluctantly gave them this one week, I've told them there will be no other cabinet agenda taken up & no further extension 2/3 (sic)", Abdullah posted on Twitter.
The cabinet sub committee for new administrative units met me requesting one last week more to complete their recommendations. 1/3— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) January 24, 2014
While I rather reluctantly gave them this one week I've told them there will be no other cabinet agenda taken up & no further extension 2/3— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) January 24, 2014
It's unfortunate that this exercise has taken since June but I'm determined to complete this important public demand no matter what 3/3— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) January 24, 2014
A meeting attended by All India Congress Committee general secretary and in-charge of the state, Ambika Soni, state Congress chief Saifuddin Soz, Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and the CM ended in a stalemate over the issue in New Delhi on Tuesday.
While CM Abdullah threatened to resign if the report by the sub-committee was not submitted before February 1, the Congress insisted the plan needed “more deliberations”.
Confirming the tussle between the two parties, a senior Congress leader told HT: “We are not against setting up of the administrative units, but feel that it should be based on a scientific criterion.” “We are just waiting for the issue to die down… Such decisions are not taken in a jiffy,” he added on the condition of anonymity.