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Can’t act against Congress minister: Omar Abdullah
JAMMU, JAN 5 (IANS):
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Published on 6 Jan. 2011 1:08 AM IST
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Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Wednesday he cannot take action against Congress minister Sham Lal Sharma for calling for a trifurcation of the state.
“I cannot take any action against the minister. As his party (Congress) has said nothing to him, how can I? In the given situation, I can only say that his remarks were his individual views,” Omar told reporters here. Sharma was seated besides Omar Abdullah at the press meet. Sharma had sparked a row when he alleged gross discrimination against Jammu region and declared that “let Kashmir be given azadi (independence), Ladakh be made a union territory and Jammu a separate state”. Sharma, the health minister in the National Conference-Congress coalition, made the remark at a public rally in Kathua district last month.
He was reportedly served a show cause notice by the Congress. Meanwhile, Omar Abdullah Wednesday said he would not vacate his post for his alliance partner Congress, insisting that he was “chief minister for six years”. He was addressing a press conference to mark the completion of his two years in office. Omar Abdullah intervened when a reporter asked his father and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah about the fissures in the ruling National Conference-Congress coalition. The chief minister insisted that the differences were an “imagination of the media”. He added: “There are no differences whatsoever.”
“When I talked to Congress president Sonia Gandhi in December 2008 before the formation of the coalition government in the state, there was no point of rotational chief ministership. “I was told that I would be chief minister for the whole term of the assembly. Hence, I am chief minister for six years. And the Congress high command is happy with my performance,” Omar Abdullah said.
The issue of rotational chief ministership has been raised by the state’s most senior Congress leader and former deputy chief minister Mangat Ram Sharma.
Sharma raised the issue at a rally in Jammu in December 2010 when he said that the coalition can work smoothly “only if the chief ministership is handed over to Congress after Omar completes three years in office” in January 2012.
This is the first time Omar Abdullah has responded to the Congress leader’s demand.
The chief minister added that not a single cabinet meeting witnessed any differences between the two parties and that 25 meetings had been held in the past two years.

 
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