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J&K CM wants to be relieved of post
Aasha Khosa on New Delhi | October 22, 2007 15:34 IST
As the old tussle between the Jammu and Kashmir's [Images] ruling allies, the Congress and the People's Democratic Party, on the issue of troops withdrawal resurfaces, Chief Minister Ghulam [Images] Nabi Azad has asked the Congress leadership in Delhi to relieve him of his job.
Sources close to the CM told Business Standard that Azad had suggested to the party's Central leaders that since he was not keen to be projected as the party's chief ministerial candidate for the next year's elections, he should be replaced at the earliest so that the next incumbent can take charge well before the polls are announced.
The term of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, which is six years as against five years in the rest of the country, is due to end on October 12, 2008, and the majority of the political parties in Jammu and Kashmir appear to be in favour of holding the elections in June in view of various local reasons, like Ramadan, harvest season and Amarnath pilgrimage.
The last elections held in September-October in four phases did not see an impressive turnout and this time the leaders are keen to see this does not happen.
Sources said Congress leaders have held informal consultations over the likely replacement of Azad, who had managed to hold the bitterly divided state party unit together for last two years.
Azad, who has spent most of his career in national politics, had gone to Kashmir only reluctantly to take over the reins of a coalition government. He has now been claiming that he "deserved to come back to Delhi after having done a good job in Kashmir."
The names of Union Water Resources Minister Saifudin Soz and National Minorities Commission chief Mohammad Shafi Qureshi have cropped up as main choices for the Congress.
Meanwhile, the PDP has intensified its attacks on the Azad government for not implementing the withdrawal of troops from the state.
The rabble-rousing between the two allies is likely to heighten further with the elections looming large over the state.