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Mufti Sayeed summoned to 10 Janpath

October 23, 2005 01:03 IST

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed will leave for New Delhi on Sunday to meet Sonia Gandhi and other senior Congress leaders and work out the modalities of the transfer of power in the state, highly placed sources told on Saturday.

Earlier during the day, Mufti put at rest any confusion related to the transfer of power from his party, Peoples Democratic Party, to the major coalition partner, the Congress on November two.

J&K transfer of power on schedule: Azad

"The agreement on sharing of power between the two coalition partners is a gentleman's agreement and it would be kept," Mufti said while touring the quake-hit Tangdhar village in north Kashmir on Saturday.

"There is no need to unnecessarily create confusion on this issue," he added.

Mufti's statement on transfer of power in the state came less than a day after Union Urban Development Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told newsmen in Srinagar that as of now there was no change in the schedule for transfer of power in the state on  November two."

A senior Congress leader and a close aide of Azad had tipped journalists on Friday that Mufti was all set to step down on October 27 to pave the way for Azad's take over the same day.

Azad has been camping in the state ever since it was rocked by a high magnitude earthquake on October eight, supervising rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts of the quake hit victims making presence of Congress felt in the operations in a big way.

The development has triggered another sort of avalanche of speculations regarding cabinet formation in the state with senior Congress leaders hinting downsizing of the present jumbo 39-member ministry headed by Mufti and exit of some heavy weights of the present formation.

State Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma has already predicted his exit from the ministry in an interview last week. He had said, "I am being demoted soon and I will no longer be the DCM. I will only be heading the Congress legislature party."

The deputy CM's post in the power sharing agreement has to go to the PDP which has to take a tough decision about the candidate. The contenders for the post are two heavy weights, State finance minister Muzaffar Hussain Beigh and Urban and Housing minister Ghulam Hassan Mir.

To avoid a conflict in the party on this issue, sources hint that PDP may nominate its president Mehbooba Mufti for the post.

Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar