Srinagar: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s decision to hold the charge of Health Department himself following resignation of Shabir Ahmad Khan earlier this month had not gone well with Congress, a partner in ruling coalition with National Conference in the state. and, in little over two weeks, the Congress has its say as Abdullah on Wednesday assigned the portfolio of Health to Congress’s Taj Mohi-ud-Din.
At the same time, the charge of Sports and Youth Services, held by Taj since January 15 last year, has been assigned to Congress’s Raman Bhalla in addition to his charge of Housing, Horticulture and Culture.
With new arrangement, Taj will now have Health and Medical Education Department.
On February 9 last, Abdullah in pursuance of Rule 5 of the J&K Government Business Rules, had decided to hold the charge of Health till further order. This was done following the resignation of Congress’s Shabir Ahmad Khan over allegations of sexual assault on a lady doctor here last month.
Khan had stepped down as Minister of State for Health on February 7, a day after police registered a case a case FIR (No. 09/2014) under RPC sections of 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman). The case was filed on a complaint by the doctor, alleging that Khan “acted like a sexual predator” and tried to molest her in his office at winter Secretariat here on January 28.
No sooner did Abdullah take over the charge of Health, Congress openly demanded the portfolio back.
In fact, the lobbying in Congress had started soon after the resignation of Khan.