From two-storey chief minister residence on Jammu’s Wazarat Road to the Civil Secretariat, the tectonic political shift is visible in the power corridors of the state as people swarm the city to witness historic swearing-in ceremony of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-People Democratic Party (PDP) alliance government on Sunday.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah has already vacated the Wazarat Road residence in Jammu, likely to be taken over by PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Abdullah’s staff had to carry humongous exercise to shift truckloads of furniture, furnishings and other things from the CM residence after six-year long term.
“He (Abdullah) has cleared the residence. He can take No Objection Certificate anytime now as all items of the Estates department are intact,” Estates department director Sheikh Fayaz told the Hindustan Times.
The two-storey multi-bedroom bungalow on the Wazarat Road is house to antique and priceless walnut furniture and carpets, many from pre-47 era with intricate works and unmatched exquisite wood-work.
Sources said the Estates department has asked close aides of Sayeed to pick up fresh furniture and furnishings before he shifts to the bungalow, the power corridor in winter capital Jammu. It will take some time before Sayeed can shift to the historic bungalow.
Just a few kilometres away from the CM residence, the staff of Jammu’s Civil Secretariat is busy dusting rooms, last-minute disposing of cases and necessary paperwork to welcome new ministers of the BJP-PDP coalition, with around 50% likely to be firsttimers. “It is a different exercise to brief first timers. It takes time for them to adjust to the system,” said a top bureaucrat on the condition of anonymity.
The Civil Secretariat phones kept ringing in the past 24 hours, sources said, from the would-be ministers’ aides. Sources said many would-be ministers have expressed desire to keep their rooms as close as possible to the chief minister and the deputy chief minister’s room.
Many top PDP leaders are haggling to stay close to Sayeed, to be sworn in on Sunday morning at Jammu’s General Zorawar Singh Auditorium at 11am on Sunday, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi joining too, and followed by a joint press conference later around 3pm. The would-be ministers of the PDP and the BJP, 12 from each party, have one grudge. The two-month long negotiations and uncertainty over government formation provided them no time to stitch D-day dresses. “It is Saturday afternoon, there is no word on portfolios. How would one get clothes stitched when no one was sure if the government will be formed or not for all the two months,” said a PDP leader on the condition of anonymity.
Tailors and big-brand shops are swarmed by the family members of the would-be ministers now. “Most politicians prefer Bandhgalla, formal suits and waste coats,” said Sunil Sharma, a shopkeeper in Jammu’s posh area of Gandhi Nagar housing bungalows of most leaders.