Reshuffle jitters? BJP ministers skip work after party executive meet

Aakash Hassan

Srinagar: Following the National Executive meet of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) last Monday, the party’s ministers are yet to resume their Srinagar offices, hindering the working of the government.
For the last three days, no BJP minister has attended office, except Industries and Commerce minister Chander Parkash, who was in his office Wednesday.
The ministers and the party’s legislators had gone to attend a two-day National Executive meeting held in Delhi on Sunday.
The meeting was presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
Attended by more than four lakh participants, the meeting was aimed at reviewing the performance of the party’s expansion drive over the last year.
When people reached the Secretariat for work on Monday, they saw that the offices of all BJP ministers, including the Deputy Chief Minister, were locked. The same was repeated on Tuesday.
On Wednesday too, all the BJP ministers’ offices remained locked, except for the Industries and Commerce minister, who was in his chair.
Officials and people who visited the Secretariat for official work were disappointed.
“I have been coming to the Secretariat for the last three days to meet the Deputy CM, but it has been locked each time,” said Baramulla resident Mohammad Ishaq. “Now, if the office stays closed tomorrow as well, I will only get my work done next week,” he said.
The BJP has 10 ministers in the government, formed in collation with the Peoples Democratic Party.
Most of the party’s ministers have returned from Delhi and are staying in Jammu, a party source said.
Kashmir Reader attempted to contact the Dy CM on Wednesday. His personnel assistant received the call and said he was not available, adding that “he had returned from Delhi this evening only”. However, he did not confirm if the Dy CM would resume office on Thursday.
Fisheries, Animal and Sheep Husbandry minister Abdul Ghani Kohli, who had returned on Tuesday from Delhi, said that he was still in Jammu.
“We were attending the party meeting in Delhi on Monday, and I don’t know why other ministers are yet to resume their offices,” Kohli said.
Other ministers were not available for comment despite repeated calls and texts to them.
Officials in the Civil Secretariat, Srinagar, complained of not being able to work properly.
“As half of the ministers are absent from their offices, it is obvious that government works will not go properly,” the official said.
“The things we are clearing are stuck at the ministers’ desks for the last three days,” he said, adding that “this is adding to the woes of common people.”
People who come from far-flung places to meet ministers had to return in dismay.
If the ministers do not return to their offices on Thursday, work can only be resumed next week, as Friday is the official holiday.
Meanwhile, sources in the BJP revealed that the BJP ministers’ unwillingness to work is due to the expected reshuffle of their portfolios.
“Party ranks have received complaints about the working of a few ministers, following which the party high command is thinking about their reshuffle,” the party source said.