J&K: No mid-term change of guard, says Omar

Omar Abdullah has dismissed reports about friction between his National Conference and Congress.

Srinagar: Asserting that there will be no mid-term change of guard in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday dismissed reports about friction between his National Conference and coalition partner Congress over the issue.

"As far as I am to understand, the agreement between the two coalition partners was very clear, the distribution of portfolios was also done on this single premise that there will be no change of guard at the half way point," Omar told reporters at sidelines of a function here.

He also downplayed the recent war of words between National Conference and Congress leaders over the issue of rotational Chief Ministership, saying the statements were made by the leaders in their personal capacity.

"There is no war of words. I do not know if in individual capacity somebody had said something, but otherwise none of the people who have spoken are either authorised to speak on behalf of the party or are party spokespersons. They have spoken in their individual capacity," he said.

Omar was here to attend a seminar-cum-workshop on ‘How to crack the civil services examination’ for the civil services aspirants.

"It is heartening to see so many civil services aspirants here," Omar said in his address at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre.

He appreciated that a growing number of Kashmiri youth are eyeing for the country`s main civil services exams and expressed hope someday he will see a youth from here holding the post of Cabinet or Foreign Secretary.

Speaking about his own experiences of the early years, Omar said he was never interested in the civil services.

"Now, do not ask me why," he said, adding "my father wanted me to be a doctor or an engineer, I became none."

A few little known Congress leaders had given rise to speculation that there might be a change of guard after Omar-led government completes three years in January next year.
A handful of second rung Congress leaders from the state were of the view that the NC-Congress follow the pattern of rotational Chief Ministership as was done during alliance with People`s Democratic Party from 2002 to 2008.

However, Omar got support from within the Congress as several front ranking leaders including Mohan Prakash, Congress in charge for Jammu and Kashmir, and senior minister Taj Mohiuddin said the party stood by the agreement with the National Conference.

At the time of alliance formation between NC and Congress, it was decided that Omar shall remain the Chief Minister for the full term of six years.


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