Former public health engineering and flood control minister Sham Lal Sharma, who resigned from the coalition government a day before the election commission declared the election schedule for Jammu and Kashmir, is known for his blunt approach towards the Jammu-centric issues.
On the creation of administrative units for Jammu and Kashmir, Sham Lal was one of the members in the cabinet sub-committee, who fought vigorously for equal distribution of resources. The row over creation of new administrative units triggered row between the coalition partners, with the Congress seeking to at least 280 more units than what the Ganai Commission report had recommended for.
Sham Lal does not hesitate airing his views on the ‘Hindu CM’ saying that it is his individual approach, but denies his desire to be a frontrunner for the post saying whatever the Congress high command would direct him, he would abide by it.
He has won elections two times from his Akhnoor constituency and holds impregnable fort there.
Both times, he defeated his rivals by comprehensive margins in the assembly contests. Well metalled network of roads, degree college, schools, sub-district hospital and many tehsils were established during his tenure in his constituency. He has a strong connect with the individuals and have helped his constituency people by providing government jobs through various government schemes. He holds a daily open public durbar at his home near Purkhoo.
Congress MLA from Akhnoor and former minister in the coalition government, Sham Lal held two important ministries of health and PHE. His development works done for the betterment of the people have earned him great recognition in the entire Jammu province.
The PHE ministry, which was a static institution since past 20 years, under his regime brought 2000 schemes, which included constructions of dams on the Chenab, Tawi, Ujh and Jhelum rivers.
Invoking Dogra identity, he holds his stand on the regional council for Jammu and asked people to think beyond playing second fiddle to the Kashmir Valley.
Exhorting the Jammu people to unite themselves by rising above party politics, he said, “How long will Jammu continue to play second fiddle to Kashmir and only think of the post of deputy chief minister? Why not a chief minister from here?”
Admitting that he had to face opposition within the party for his bold postures on the regional council and the Hindu chief minister issues, Sham Lal said, “We have to think beyond the party politics and struggle unitedly for the better future of Jammu and this is not possible by limiting our vision and approach.”
After having swapped the departments of health and PHE between him and Taj Mohi-ud-din, the charges and counter-charges between the two became public as both accused each other of indulging in ‘neck-deep’ scams.
While Sharma had revealed in the legislative council on March 26, 2014 that he had set up two departmental inquiries to investigate the “large scale irregularities” noticed in the procurement of pipes of the PHE, Taj accused him of being involved into the spurious drug scam. Both the enquiries are pending.