Hectic political activity and intense lobbying were on yesterday at Farooq Abdullah's Gupkar Road residence. Not only politicians, but bureaucrats and senior police officials were also seen there, busy building bridges with the new Chief Minister.
According to agency reports, Chief Minister-designate, Farooq Abdullah, said yesterday he would constitute a three-tier ministry. He ruled out a change of the state governor gen (retd) K V Krishna Rao. "He (the Governor) will definitely complete his tenure," Abdullah told PTI.
The focus of the ministry would be on loyalists and new faces from Jammu and Ladakh regions. Abdullah is supported by fifty eight MLAs. But there are sixty two aspirants for ministerial berths in the government which is being sworn in here on Wednesday. One one side of the long list of ministerial probables are veterans of the National Conference, which include Farooq's former colleagues in the government like Abdul Rahim Kather, Mohammad Shafi Uri, Mohiuddin Shah, Pyarelal Handoo, Bashir Ahmad Kichloo and Ataullah Suharwardy. On the other side are persons like Ajatshatru Singh, the son of Karan Singh, Molvi Ifftekhar Hussain Ansari, Yusuf tarigami and Abdul Qayoom.
According to observers, Farooq Abdullah would go through his firsty acid test while tackling the ambitions of his partymen. Farooq has to keep in mind the necessity to involve more representation from Jammu and Ladakh regions, which have given the National Conference such a big support for the first time.
The Chief Minister designate is believed to be thinking seriously on giving his party a face lift by making its top organisational cadre broad-based. He is likely to induct representatives from the Jammu region to man the party's important assignments.
On the administrative side, heads have already started rolling with Abdullah's public announcement that Ashok Jaitley would be the new chief secretary. The present incumbent, Ashok Kumar, is moving to New Delhi. B R Singh, a senior IAS officer, has been tipped for the post of principal secretary to the Chief Minister. This post was held by Mehmood-ur-Rehman, now vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University and an IAS officer of the state cadre.
A major administrative overhaul is on the cards. Orders to this effect would be issued after the new government takes office, according to sources close to Abdullah. Meanwhile, Governor Krishna Rao had to eat his words when Abdullah reacted sharply to the latter's remark that the National Conference has been a party of corrupt persons, who should now change their attitude. The Governor had to issue a statement saying that he was misquoted. Relations between Abdullah and the Governor are a topic of discussion in political circles in the state.
But knowledgeable sources reveal that a change in the gubernatorial post is not in the offing in the near future.
The Governor yesterday visited the convention complex on the banks of the Dal lake, to supervise the arrangements for the oath-taking ceremony of the new government.