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

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said there will be no mid-term change of guard in the state.

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said there will be no mid-term change of guard in the state as he will remain at the helm of affairs
till the term of the present government ends in 2014.

"The issue of who will be the Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir is a closed chapter. This has been decided in 2009 itself," Omar told a news agency here.

He said he failed to understand why some leaders from coalition partner Congress are raising the issue from time to time.

"I do not know why certain sections in Congress are raising this issue from time to time," he said.

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 National Conference-Congress follow the pattern of rotational Chief Ministership as was done during alliance with People`s Democratic Party from 2002 to

However, Omar got support from within the Congress as several front ranking leaders including Mohan Prakash, Congress incharge 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.

Asserting his authority on expansion of his council of ministers, Omar said it was his prerogative to decide as and when to carry out such an exercise.

"At the moment, there is nothing on cards as far as cabinet expansion is concerned. Moreover, it is my prerogative whether to expand the council of ministers or not," he said.

Asked if the issue had been discussed during the meeting of NC-Congress coordination Committee, Omar said he would discuss the issue with Congress high command at an appropriate time after taking Congress unit into confidence.

On Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s directive to ministers, the Chief Minister said none of his ministers should have a problem in declaring the assets possessed by
them, their spouses and dependants.

"We are all committed to transparency through RTI Act. If need be we will go for voluntary disclosure also," he said adding the elected representatives in the state were already filing details of assets to the state Assembly every year.