J&K Governor acts tough, sacks 2 political appointees for not resigning

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In an unprecedented action, Governor NN Vohra today terminated two political appointments of vice chairpersons of Corporation/Board made during the previous regime of PDP-BJP coalition headed by Mehbooba Mufti as the duo failed to submit their resignation, which was mandatory with change of the Government in the State.

The political appointments, which were terminated by the General Administration Department with immediate effect on instructions of the Governor, included Gulzar Ahmad Khatana, vice chairman, J&K State Advisory Board for Development of Gujjar & Bakerwals and Rashid Ahmad, vice chairman, J&K Agro Industries Development Corporation.

Both of them reportedly belonged to Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party.

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Significantly, the GAD within minutes of uploading termination of two political appointments withdrew the order under mysterious circumstances. Some of the insiders, however, claimed that the orders were withdrawn as the political appointees had offered to resign voluntarily.

However, there was no official word from the Government on withdrawal of the termination orders.

Earlier, the Governor had directed all Administrative Secretaries to file report by July 3 on all political appointments of vice chairpersons of Corporations/Boards and Advisors/Consultants engaged by the Departments. The deadline was later revised to July 7.

Sources said since the resignations of Gulzar Ahmad Khatana and Rashid Ahmad hadn’t been received by the Government, it was decided to sack them from the posts.

The PDP-BJP regime had made total of 25 political appointments including 17 in the Corporations and eight in the Boards. All the appointees were leaders of coalition partners including People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the People’s Conference, a BJP ally.

Of 25 appointments, 15 vice chairpersons belonged to the PDP, which had taken lion’s share while 10 others were affiliated with BJP and its allies.

Barring Gulzar Ahmad Khatana and Rashid Ahmad, all other political appointees had submitted their resignations to the concerned Departments following withdrawal of support by the BJP to Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition Government and imposition of Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir on June 19.

According to sources, the appointments of Advisors/Consultants engaged by some Departments during the PDP-BJP regime could also lose their job, if they don’t resign voluntarily, as their appointments were also under scrutiny of the Governor.

However, there was possibility that some Advisors/Consultants could be allowed to continue on their posts if the Departments feel their presence as necessary for efficient working of the Department.

“A decision on the postings of Advisors/Consultants will also be taken shortly,” sources disclosed.

Sources pointed that all political appointees had to quit on their own with change of the Government and the despite fixation of deadline and its revision, the two political appointees didn’t quit, which forced the Government to order their dismissal.

Majority of political appointees had been given the rank and facilities of the Ministers of State.