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BJP stakes claim to another Cabinet berth in CC meet

All Jammu vacancies to be referred to Board

Panel for full salary to SRO 202 staff

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Dec 30: The issue of one extra Cabinet berth taken by the PDP during Thursday’s Cabinet expansion figured in the PDP-BJP Coordination Committee meeting today with BJP also staking claim to an additional Cabinet berth by elevating one of its Ministers of State to the Cabinet rank while the Panel recommended that candidates, who have been appointed under SRO 202 and were getting less than 50 per cent salary, should be given full pay if they have been posted against the clear vacancies.
Issue of discrimination with Jammu region in referring vacancies of teachers to the Recruitment Board was also raked up by the BJP members in the Coordination Committee and it was decided that vacancies of teachers and posts, pending in all 10 districts of Jammu region, would be referred to the Board immediately and advertised.
The Coordination Committee met at the residence of PDP vice president Sartaj Madni under the chairmanship of Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Dr Nirmal Singh, who happens to be Chairman of the Panel.
Sources told the Excelsior that the BJP today formally staked claim for a Cabinet berth by elevating their one of the Ministers of State to Cabinet rank after PDP raised its strength in the Cabinet to 12 including the Chief Minister, as against BJP’s just eight.
Prior to Cabinet expansion, PDP had 10 Cabinet Ministers including the Chief Minister and three Ministers of State while BJP had eight Cabinet Ministers including Sajjad Lone of People’s Conference, a BJP ally, and three Ministers of State. The PDP dropped its one Minister of State (Farooq Ahmad Andrabi) and inducted two Cabinet Ministers. While PDP had one Cabinet Minister vacancy in its quota, it inducted one additional Cabinet Minister in place of one Minister of State.
This took PDP strength in the Cabinet to 12 and left BJP with eight berths only.
The BJP leaders were reported to have raised the issue of one more Cabinet berth by elevating one of their three Ministers of State to the Cabinet rank to maintain balance in the Cabinet.
Sources said the PDP representatives in the Coordination Committee assured the BJP members that they will convey their demand to Chief Minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti.
The PDP has 14 Ministers including the CM, 11 Cabinet and two Ministers of State while BJP has 11 including eight Cabinet and three Ministers of State. As per the PDP-BJP agreement, PDP will have Chief Minister for full six year term, 10 Cabinet Ministers and three Ministers of State but they have raised the strength of their Cabinet Ministers to 11. BJP has, as per agreement, eight Cabinet Ministers and three Ministers of State.
The Coordination Committee recommended that all candidates recruited under SRO 202 in which they will get only half of the salary for about five years, should be given full salary if they had been posted against clear vacancies.
The Panel was of the view that the candidates can no longer be deprived of full perks while working against a clear vacancy in the Government Department and, therefore, all those getting half pay, or even less, should be brought at par with the Government employees.
The Panel called for opening up of Veterinary University in Jammu and Horticulture University in Kashmir.
The BJP members took up the issue of discrimination with Jammu region in referring vacancies of teachers to the Recruitment Board in the meeting.
Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh called for referring all vacancies of the teachers in 10 districts of Jammu region to the Recruitment Board for filling up them at the earliest. Apart from teachers, he also called for referring all other vacancies in the districts to the Recruitment Board.
The Coordination Committee was of the view that vacancies throughout the State should be filled expeditiously to overcome the unemployment.
The Panel welcomed Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s announcement of holding Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies elections in the State and called upon the people to join the electoral process for restoration of democracy to the grass root level.
The Committee said there should be “excellent floor coordination” between PDP and BJP during upcoming budget session of the Legislature to counter the Opposition propaganda, which would try to highlight ideological differences between the Alliance partners. The leaders observed that the Alliance legislators should highlight the Government achievements in the Legislature.
Progress on ‘Agenda of Alliance’ reached between PDP and BJP was also discussed at the meeting and it was decided that the steps should be taken for expeditious implementation of remaining points of the ‘Agenda’.
The meeting chaired by Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Dr Nirmal Singh was attended by Jugal Kishore Sharma and Shamsher Singh Manhas, both MPs and Narinder Singh, general secretary, all from BJP, Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Abdul Rehman Veeri, Sartaj Madni, vice president, Dillawar Mir, former Minister and Tarlok Singh Bajwa, former Rajya Sabha member, all from PDP.
BJP MP from Ladakh Thupstan Chewang couldn’t make it to the meeting.

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