Within minutes of sacking of Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu from the Council of Ministers, the state government postponed Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting. The meeting is now scheduled to be held on March 20.
Although no reason was given for rescheduling the meeting, it is believed that the PDP leadership wanted to take its coalition partner BJP on board about its step on Drabu.
Sources said the BJP leadership, which is stunned over Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s decision to sack Drabu for his remarks on the Kashmir problem, has decided to hold its core group meeting before making any statement on the PDP’s “internal matter.”
A BJP leader, who wished not be quoted, admitted that Drabu, who was architect of Agenda of Alliance (AoA) of the coalition, has a good rapport with BJP ministers, who usually took suggestions from him on technical issues.
The sources said the BJP leadership had taken the development very seriously because the action was taken against Drabu for “speaking truth.” The sources said party leaders observed that the development would have impact the BJP’s image in the Jammu region, where people’s anger was already raging against the party for surrendering its ideology to play second fiddle in the coalition.
BJP general secretary (organisation) Ashok Koul has termed the removal of Drabu as a purely internal matter of the PDP but he made it clear that the party was keeping a watch on unfolding developments as the minister was sacked on a sensitive issue.
Indirectly supporting Drabu’s remark, Koul asserted, “As far as the BJP is concerned, the Kashmir issue is not a political problem. The only unresolved issue in the implementation of parliamentary resolution of 1994 is the liberation of Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir”.
The sources said the state BJP leadership was likely to devise its strategy after the return of Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh to the state. Nirmal Singh has been out of the state for the past one week. “The party leadership is in touch with BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav, who along with Drabu was mainly instrumental in stitching the alliance of two parties having diametrically opposite ideologies,” they said.
His speech cost him dearly, say Omar
Soon after Haseeb Drabu was sacked as the state’s Finance Minister, former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Drabu’s speech at an event in New Delhi had cost him “dearly”. “His (Drabu’s) PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry speech cost him dearly,” Omar tweeted. “Will be interesting to see who replaces him in the Finance Ministry,” the National Conference working president added.