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NC ministers quit ahead of J&K Cabinet reshuffle, Omar introduces new faces

Srinagar, Jan 16 (): With two years to go for the next elections, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah announced a reshuffle in his cabinet in which he dropped seven ministers and inducted 10 new faces.

Earlier on Monday ten ministers from the National Conference (NC) submitted their resignations to the Chief Minister that paved way for a possible reshuffle facilitating the CM for a fresh council of ministers.

It is believed in the four-year-old coalition government of the NC and the Congress, three posts were kept vacant for some time which has been filled at a swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan on Tuesday.

Those Cabinet ministers who handed over their resignations to the Chief Minister included Minister of Finance Abdul Rahim Rather, Minister of Forest Mian Altaf Ahmad, Minister of Rural Development Ali Mohammad Sagar, Minister of Industries Surjit Singh Salathia apart from Minister of Animal Husbandry Aga Ruhullah, Minister of Social Welfare Sakeena Itoo and Minister of Higher Education Abdul Gani Malik, said political sources while talking to reporters.

The Chief Minister also expected his impressive political advisor Devinder Singh Rana and one more advisor Mubarak Gul, to quit their posts, who are enjoying the rank of State cabinet ministers.

Mr. Abdullah has been in touch with the leaders of the coalition partners, over telephone these days mainly with the J&K Pradesh Congress Committee president, Saif-ud-din Soz, as well as Union Minister of Health and general secretary of the All India Congress Committee, Ghulam Nabi Azad. Governor N.N. Vohra is set to administer the oath of office at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, said sources.

Remaining tight-lipped, the coalition leadership did not however reveal the names of ministers but ascertained that there would be unexpected results in portfolios of the Congress ministers, said senior leaders in the party who did not mention any particular name to be inducted.