Sajad Lone Gets Social Welfare, Resigns in Protest
SRINAGAR: Former Hurriyat leader and Peoples Conference (PC) chairman, Sajad Lone,Tuesday tendered his resignation from the cabinet of Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, a day after he was sworn into office.
A close aide of the minister said Lone sent his resignation letter to the chief minister's office on Tuesday. Sources said he also didn't turn up at his office at the civil secretariat in Jammu on his first day as minister.
"Alliance partners are accommodative but he was kept in the dark till the last moment and later given charge of an insignificant ministry. He has submitted his resignation to the CM's office," the PC chief's aide told The Citizen.
The CM's office, according to sources, has not yet taken any decision on the resignation with the sudden political development creating a buzz at the civil secretariat in Jammu.
According to sources, Sajad Lone whose party Peoples Conference won two seats in the 2014 assembly elections, is apparently upset over the allocation of an "insignificant ministry" to him by the rightwing party.
The PC chief was Monday given charge of Social Welfare and ARI and Trainings ministries in the cabinet headed by Mehbooba Mufti, out of the BJP's quota, although he was expecting the Health or Forest ministry.
After being chosen as the Animal Husbandry and Science and Technology minister in Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's cabinet last year, the former Hurriyat leader had showed resentment in heading the "low-key" ministries.
According to sources, Sajad had raised the issue with the BJP which had promised him that the portfolios will be changed in coming days but it never happened.
Although Lone took up the assignment with much reluctance, he brought the departments into focus, especially by announcing a roadmap for making J&K self-sufficient in mutton production.
After nearly three months of negotiations between the PDP and the BJP over government formation ended, sources said the BJP had promised better ministry to Lone. However, the latest development has left him "shocked" following which he resigned.
Top BJP and PDP leaders met him on Tuesday and tried to convince him to change his decision but the PC chief is sticking to his guns.
A former Hurriyat leader, Sajad Lone shot to headlines in 2014 when he contested the state assembly elections in alliance with the BJP, ahead of the elections. He later met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and called him "big brother", earning him public wrath in the Valley where the BJP is viewed with deep suspicion.