Omar Abdullah likely to reshuffle cabinet

J&K CM Omar Abdullah is planning a cabinet reshuffle aimed at strengthening his government.

Updated: Jul 19, 2010, 11:58 AM IST

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is planning a cabinet reshuffle aimed at strengthening his government and may also drop some tainted ministers from the cabinet, sources here said Monday.

Abdullah, who returned Sunday after after meeting United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Home Minister P. Chidambaram in New Delhi, has been assured full support by the central government, sources close to the chief minister said.

"Omar also discussed moves to strengthen his government with the central leaders who have assured him complete support to tide over the present crisis in Kashmir," the sources added.

The valley has been virtually paralysed due to violent protests since June 11 when security forces allegedly killed a 17-year-old teenager, Tufail Mattoo. At least 14 people have lost their lives in firing by security forces to dispel protesters since June 11.

The Indian Army was called in to help maintain law and order as the violence spiralled.

The ruling National Conference (NC) working committee is meeting here July 22 to discuss measures to strengthen the party at the grassroots level.

According to sources, union Minister for Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah may relinquish the post of NC president "because of preoccupations in New Delhi".
Party sources also indicated that the powerful NC general secretary Sheikh Nazir is also likely to give up his post due to "old age and ill health".

Meanwhile, Omar Abdullah has directed the state vigilance organisation to submit a preliminary report to the government on a report Saturday in local English newspaper Greater Kashmir that alleged that a cabinet minister had recently purchased a villa costing Rs.120 crore in Dubai Palms.
"The probe would be started immediately and a preliminary report would be submitted to the government," a source in the state vigilance organisation said.