M A I N   N E W S

Beigh quits as J&K Deputy CM
Says he is deeply hurt
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, September 2
After four days of lull, senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beigh today announced to resign from the post of the Deputy Chief Minister and the state Cabinet, accusing party leadership of “deeply hurting” his sentiments.

He is yet to decide on his resignation from the Legislative Assembly and the PDP that would be taken only after “consulting” his constituency, he said wishing the Muftis well in the ongoing political process. The PDP leadership’s decision to change “portfolios without my knowledge” and two the “change in confidence in me” hurt me, Mr Beigh said.

The controversy had begun with the PDP recommending to the Chief Minister, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, to withdraw his portfolios and replace him by Mr Abdul Aziz Zargar as the Legislature Party leader and the Deputy Chief Minister following the Cabinet expansion last Tuesday. Mr Beigh had been holding portfolios of finance, planning, law and parliamentary affairs and tourism as Deputy Chief Minister in the Azad-led coalition government.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Beigh said he would be meeting the Chief Minister with a request of “relieving me of the duties assigned to me. I will also thank him for (reposing) confidence in me”, Mr Beigh said. He added that he would not like to destabilise the government and “it will not be my attempt to get the coalition partners on collision course”. “I have been accused of being close to Azad...it was my duty as Deputy Chief minister. But, I did not betray the PDP”, Mr Beigh made it clear. “I have opposed human rights violations, but I am not accusing Mr Azad for any increase in this. There has been a gradual decline in violence” ever since the National Conference government took over in 1996, he said. He held that there were leaders bent upon disgracing or failing Azad, but he was opposed to such attempts, Mr Beigh pointed out.

“Unfortunately I am at the centre of controversy”, Mr Beigh said while referring to the developments taking place during the past couple of days. He accused the PDP leadership — the patron, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, and his daughter and party president Mehbooba Mufti — for not taking him into confidence on the decision for change of portfolios. “When it came to the open, I offered to resign”, Mr Beigh said. He added that even then the Chief Minister wanted to retain his portfolios and was divested of only the tourism portfolio in the new reshuffle on Thursday.

Without divulging the reasons behind the change of attitude by the Muftis, Mr Beigh said the PDP leadership levelled four “flimsy” charges against him. First, he had not opposed the decision on the creation of eight new districts in the state, even as Kashmir valley got benefit of three more districts than the recommendations of the Wazir Commission. Second, he did not oppose the appointment of former Chief Secretary, Mr S.S. Bloeria, as the head of the committee on delimitation, third, the double shift system and last the transfer of an SSP from Anantnag to Budgam. Mr Beigh added that there were no other charges against him and instead his efforts in finance and planning had been widely praised by the Central Government.

“I will never abuse Muftis like other leaders in the party.... Mufti Sayeed is a fatherly figure and I will continue to respect him even if we part ways”, Mr Beigh said. He said politics was a matter of discussion where differences do get created and sometimes “dirty linen is washed in public”, he added. “It will take a few days to decide” on parting ways and “politics is not my bread and butter”, Mr Beigh asserted.

Mr Beigh credited himself for being the exclusive author of the PDP’s basic declaration on building opinion in India and Pakistan for resolving Kashmir, opening of roads on the two sides and good governance and self-rule.

He said even now Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had an important role to play but lamented that he was “surrounded by sycophants in an attempt to wreck the party”. 



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