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Farooq may not get into Cabinet

india Updated: May 19, 2009 01:48 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi

Differences over Ladakh may cost National Conference (NC) president and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, 72, a berth in the Union ministry.

Several senior Congress leaders are opposed to his induction in the new government. They have charged Farooq with tacitly fielding a proxy candidate in Ladakh after the Congress got the right to contest from the seat.

NC provincial president and ex-MP Ghulam Hassan Khan had ‘defied’ the party by deciding to contest from Ladakh as an independent. Khan defeated former Union minister Phuntsog Namgyal of the Congress by over 3,000 votes.

“The NC leadership didn’t take any action against Khan. He was not expelled despite our repeated requests,” said a senior Congress leader who was not authorised to talk to the media.

And on Monday, Khan rejoined the NC. “I was angry with my home people, but after all one has to return home and I am doing that,” Khan said.

With this, the NC tally has risen to four. The party had won from Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla, while the Congress bagged Jammu and Udhampur seats.

“Farooq wanted to win maximum seats so that he is in such a position where he can bargain with the Congress on at least two Cabinet posts and important portfolios, including the home ministry,” the leader said.

Ladakh had become a bone of contention between the two partners as the NC wanted to field its candidate from the constituency and instead offered Anantnag to the Congress as per 3:3 seat-sharing arrangement.

But, the Congress stuck to its guns and after several rounds of discussions the NC gave up its claims on the seat.