Monday, January 30, 2012

Taj Vakil battle

Already fraught with the Already fraught with the factionalism of a worst kind, state Congress is witnessing further vertical split on the issue of ongoing stand-off between the Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Taj Mohi-ud-Din and former minister and sitting MLC Abdul Gani Vakil on the issue of corruption, bunglings in PHE department. 
Interestingly the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee president Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz, though disapproving “bickering in public” between the two senior party leaders, has chosen to stay away from the wordy duel for the time being.
Reason being, he has been `bypassed’ by both the leaders as well as their supporters by not referring the matter to him and seeking the direct intervention of Congress high command and incharge J&K Affairs.

Meanwhile, the two warring factions on behalf of Taj and Vakil are fighting a full fledged war of words through media by issuing signed statements endorsing the stand of either of the two. Those close to PCC president have cautiously restrained from reacting so far, favouring or opposing any warring side so far.

In a day of swift developments on Sunday, the media offices received two separate signed statements issued from warring factions.

In Jammu, a statement was issued in the name of JKPCC general secretary Vinod Sharma wherein a group of Congress leaders comprising former ministers Jugal Kishore Sharma, Suman Bhagat, Chowdhary Garu Ram, Dr Romesh Sharma, Yogesh Sawhney, MLC Haji Ali Mohammed Bhat, general secretary PCC Dr Abdul Ahad Yatu, general secretary Vinod Sharma, Seva Dal state chief Balvinder Singh Sambyal, Youth Congress leader R S Pathania, senior Congress leaders from Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Patel from Pulwama, Ghulam Hassan Shah DCC president  Ganderbal, senior vice president district Kupwara Abdul Rahim Wani, Haji Mohammed Afzal Khan Baramulla, Ghulam Ahmad Lone Budgam, Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din ex Corporator Sumbal, Namrata Sharma corporator, Subhash Bhagat, Jugal Kishore Sharma (INTUC), Navin Nischal (Sevadal) and Irfan Naqeeb “condemned the statement of PHE and Irrigation Minister against voices of corruption.” The joint statement said that he (Taj) in his frustration was issuing baseless statements to hide his failure.

The signatories said, “The Congress party has started a mission to eradicate corruption from the system and Abdul Gani Vakil was trying to carry forward the same mission with zeal and enthusiasm.” They regretted saying, “This is most unfortunate that a group whose, each member is involved in corrupt practices and having various cases pending against them in State Accountability Commission (SAC), different courts or CBI have joined hands to suppress and oppress voices against corruption.”

The Congress, they said, “was for exposing all those who are looting the tax payers’ money and misleading masses for their petty gains.” They said, “Such corrupt, incapable and crook people who are out there issuing fake and bogus statements in connivance with some tainted ministers need to be exposed. Their attempts to curb voices against corruption and corrupt will not be tolerated.”

The statement further said, “The Congress leaders in a meeting sought disciplinary action against PHE and Irrigation Minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din for threatening their party colleague Abdul Gani Vakil, who they said had dared to raise the issues of corruption and made an attempt to bring revelations by newspapers into the notice of concerned minister. Vakil, they said, had tried to aware minister incharge of malpractices going on in his department but instead of responding to party colleague’s attempts to stop corruption, Taj preferred to threaten him twice and wash his dirty linen in public.”

The Congress leaders urged the party high command to initiate the disciplinary action against PHE minister immediately as he had gone to the press, threatened of filing a defamation suit instead of explaining his position to the party high command. In the statement, they also urged the high command to sack the minister as “his involvement in corruption land grabbing had damaged and tarnished the image of Congress party.”

Such illegal practices by such tainted ministers, they said, had already caused enough damage to the party and if these things were not plugged there itself they would create further harm to Congress in Jammu and Kashmir state.
The Congress leaders, while extending their full support to Vakil, said that a strong action should be initiated against all those who were misusing power for their personal gains and looting public money. “People like Taj Mohi-ud-Din who are neck deep involved in various alleged corrupt practices and land grabbing should be sacked to save party’s image,” they demanded.

On the other hand, reportedly a joint statement was issued by the district presidents of Kashmir Valley “condemning the irresponsible behavior of Vakil which was harming the party in the state.” According to KNS news agency, the senior Congress leaders including ministers had criticized Vakil for, what they chose to describe “creating nuisance and his profession of blackmail and intimidation.”

As per KNS report, a meeting was held at PHE Minister Taj Mohi-ud-din’s residence.The KNS report further said, “Sources in Congress told KNS that Prof Soz was apprised by party colleagues in a meeting at Institute of Engineers, Gandhinagar Jammu about the Vakil centric developments that have a strong bearing on overall functioning of the Congress in the state.

This, they said, was followed by a joint statement by all the ten district presidents of Kashmir Valley condemning the irresponsible behavior of Vakil which was harming the party in the state. Sources also said that Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was apprised by senior Congress leaders and ministers in coalition government about the developments within Congress.

“I wash my hands, favour disciplinary action against Vakil,” sources quoted Azad as having told to the Congress leaders who met him recently.”

The report further added, “Meanwhile, Gulzar Ahmed Wani, Mir Mushtaq Nowshehra, Abdul Gani Khan, Habibullah Bhat, Mohammad Amin Khan Katlori, Zahid Hussain Jan, Abdul Gani Dar, Peer Nazir Ahmed and Innayatullah Rather District Presidents of Congress for Anantnag, Baramullah, Srinagar, Bandipora, Kupwara, Budgam, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam have, in a joint statement condemned Vakil for his “irresponsible statements and baseless remarks” against senior party colleagues.”
“Vakil has started a campaign aimed at blackmailing Congress ministers. He is in the habit of asking undue favours from the ministers and if they don’t oblige him, he publicly goes against them and indulges in worst kind of character assassination,” said the joint statement issued by Congress District Presidents of Kashmir Valley, reported KNS.

As per agency report, the Congress leaders demanded immediate action as recommended by a Disciplinary Committee that was constituted by the Congress high command couple of years back.

KNS report said, “Congress high command had constituted a four member Disciplinary Committee comprising Hari Singh, Bashir Ahmad Magray, Amolak Singh and Abdul Majeed Padar in 2010 to look into the complaints against Vakil for his irresponsible behaviour and the Committee had recommended ouster of Vakil from the rank and file of Congress. The joint statements issued by all the district presidents of Kashmir Valley accused Vakil of misusing party name for his personal vested interests.” The statement quoted in the KNS report said, “Vakil has become a source of pain and embarrassment for the party in the Sate, therefore party high command should immediately order his ouster from the party.”

Agency report further said, “Meanwhile, reliable sources told KNS that Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Taj Mohi-ud-Din, Minister for Education Peerzada Mohammed Sayeed, Minister of State for Cooperatives Dr Manohar Lal, former Minister, G M Saroori , MLAs Abdul Majeed Wani and Haji Nisar Ali, Haji and senior leaders Abdul Rashid Dar, Surrinder Singh Chani, Mir Jahangir and Mazoor Ahmad Ganai have written to AICC member and incharge J&K state Mohan Prakash asking him to stop Vakil from anti party activities which were harming the party in the state.”

“Vakil is in habit of leveling frivolous, malicious and false allegations against the Congress colleagues without any substantive proof which needs to be stopped without any further delay,” the agency report said quoting the joint letter, a copy of which, it claimed, was with it.

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