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'Barking up the wrong tree' remark bites Drabu as J&K CM Mufti axes him

Press Trust of India  |  Srinagar 

Haseeb Drabu, one of the architects of the PDP-alliance in the state, was today unceremoniously removed from the council of ministers by Chief over his remarks that the issue was not a political one, officials said.

The chief minister, who returned from the national capital to Jammu, shot off a letter to the state N N Vohra requesting him to drop Drabu from her council of ministers with immediate effect, PDP sources said.

The Governor, after examining the letter, wrote back to the chief conveying his nod to her request to drop the 57-year-old Drabu from her council of ministers, officials said.

A in New Delhi, however, termed Mufti's decision to sack her minister as a "setback" to the alliance as it could widen the gap between the two parties.

Drabu, he said, was often the bridge between the government and the Centre over a host of issues. "It is a setback to the alliance," the leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. He recalled that Drabu played an important role in the formulation of the GST.

Since yesterday, pressure was mounting on Drabu, who played a key role in stitching an alliance with the BJP during Mufti Mohammed Sayeed's tenure earlier and again when became the chief minister, after newspapers published his remarks that people were "barking up the wrong tree" as the Kashmir issue was not a political issue.

"It (JK) is not a political issue as far as I can see. They have been barking up the wrong tree for the last 50 or 70 years by talking about the of it; that the political situation has never improved. We seriously need to look at in terms of how it is a society that is in search for itself," Drabu had said at an event organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in on Friday.

Following the sudden development, the state cabinet meeting scheduled tomorrow was deferred by a week.

"meeting which was scheduled to be held tomorrow at 12.30 pm has been postponed. It will be now be held on 20, March, 2018 at 11 am," tweeted.

With Drabu out of the ministry, the race for the coveted portfolio began with chief minister's trusted and being seen as front-runners.

Sources indicated that while Bukhari may land the job eventually, the might retain the finance portfolio for the time being.

The PDP had yesterday asked Drabu to retract his statement as it was against the party's stand.

"The party takes serious note of the statement made reportedly by Haseeb A Drabu in a function at regarding the nature of problems in J-K and has asked the minister to retract the statement immediately if it has been reported correctly in the media," had said here.

"The party recognises as a political issue and ever since its emergence, the party has relentlessly been pursuing its resolution through reconciliation and dialogue - both at internal and external levels," he added.

Opposition National Conference joined the issue today saying it was interesting to see who gets the finance portfolio.

"His PHDCCI speech cost him dearly. Will be interesting to see who replaces him in the Finance Ministry," Omar said in a tweet.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 12 2018. 22:05 IST