Friday, February 05,2016

SRINAGAR: The appointment of two retired civil servants as advisors to the Governor NN Vohra by the state government is an oblique sign of the deepening political crisis in Jammu and Kashmir.

The General Administration Department of the J&K government Thursday issued appointment orders for Parvez Dewan, a 1977 IAS officer, and Khurshid Ahmed Ganai, of 1982 batch, as advisors to Vohra.

In absence of the elected government, Dewan and Ganai will hold charge of nearly two dozen ministries in Jammu and Kashmir.

Ganai had taken premature retirement as Secretary Tourism in Government of India on January 28, 2014 to focus on his writing and South Asian encyclopaedia, while Ganai retired as the chairman of Bureau of Public Enterprises in October last year.

The appointments come barely two days after the PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and the BJP's state president, Sat Paul Sharma, met Vohra to explain the delay in government formation in J&K which slipped under Governor's rule on January 8 following the death of the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed a day earlier.

Till an elected government assumes office, the state will be technically ruled by the coterie of four, including the Chief Secretary, BR Sharma, and Financial Commissioner, BB Vyas, under the supervision of Vohra, and all of them will enjoy the ministerial powers

"The departments (in the state) have been organised in four clusters .... The Governor has also approved the constitution of the State Administrative Council, with the Governor as its Chairman and Advisors to the Governor as Members, to dispose of cases mentioned in the second schedule of the J&K Government Business Rules or such other matters as the Governor may direct to be placed before it," an official spokesperson said.

Former J&K chief minister, Omar Abdullah, whose party has been pitching for fresh elections, said the appointment of advisors for Vohra is a clear indication of the prolonged Central rule followed by elections this year.

“This clearly indicates that Gov Vohra doesn’t see an early end to central rule in the state. Elections this year???” he tweeted, in reference to the appointment of Dewan and Ganai as Vohra's advisors.

Till January 7, the state was ruled by PDP-BJP coalition government which came into office on March 1 last year. The death of Sayeed at AIIMS and his daughter, Mehbooba Mufti's reluctance to take oath, plunged the state into a political crisis.

The PDP chief has asked the Centre to initiate "concrete confidence building measures" before the PDP restitches the alliance with the Hindu right-wing party. However, there have been no announcements from the Centre so far.

According to reports, the BJP has deployed its national general secretary Ram Madhav, who played a lead role in bringing the two parties together last year, to hold informal talks with the PDP for removing the roadblocks in government formation.

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