Mula, Vakil inducted as cabinet ministers, Gharu, Saroori get MoS berths

‘Ministers’ continuance linked with performance’, Azad

By News Agency of Kashmir

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Jammu : The Azad-led Council of Ministers was expanded with the induction of four ministers who were administered oath by Governor, Lt. Gen (Retd) S. K. Sinha at an impressive function at Raj Bhavan here this afternoon.

The Governor administered oath of office and secrecy to Mula Ram and Abdul Gani Vakil as Cabinet Ministers and Gharu Ram and G. M. Saroori as Ministers of State. With this, the number of ministers in the Council of Ministry has risen to 25 including the Chief Minister.

Today’s function was attended by First Lady, Premini Sinha, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Shamim Azad, Deputy Chief Minister, Muzaffar Hussain Baig, ministers, legislators, senior politicians, Chief Secretary, Director General of Police, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister and other senior officers and prominent citizens.

Later, talking with media persons, the Chief Minister welcomed the new entrants into the Council of Ministry. Asked if today’s expansion was the last before the assembly elections, he said, “We are in the election year and this is the last expansion. However, he said continuance of the ministers would depend on their performance”. He said portfolios of new ministers would be announced in a day or two.

The Chief Minister announced that MLC, Arvinder Singh Micky would be the candidate of the Congress party for the post of Deputy Chairman, Legislative Council. He said the election to the post would be held in the first week of the commencement of the Budget session of the legislature. He said in pursuance to the agreement between the coalition parties, the PDP candidate was elected as the Chairman of the Council while the Deputy Chairman’s slot goes to the Congress party.

In reply to a question on resignation of Minister of State for Finance, Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Revenue, Prem Sagar Aziz, the Chief Minister said that the latter had volunteered to work for the party as its soldier. He said it was a very positive development as not many people want to leave the ministerial position and serve the party. He said Sagar had approached him six months ago with the request to relieve him from the council of ministry and allow him to work for strengthening the party.

He said he was reminded of his own case when 21 years ago V. P. Singh and others resigned from the Congress and ministers were reluctant to work on a party position. He said at that time he resigned as Union Minister and took up the party assignment as its General Secretary in which capacity he worked for the party in UP and started peace process in Punjab. He said he congratulates Prem Sagar Aziz for his bold decision.

Replying another question, the Chief Minister said that there was perfect coordination between Congress and PDP. “There is no problem on this account”, he said.