In a far-reaching reshuffle of his cabinet, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah inducted ten new faces after dropping eight ministers, seven from his National Conference (NC) and one from coalition partner, the Congress.
Days after completing four years in office, the 42-year-old Omar undertook this major overhaul of his team which included shifting of two of his closest aides, Davinder Singh Rana, his political adviser, and Nasir Wani, Minister of State for Home and Tourism, who have been made provincial Presidents of National Conference for Jammu and Kashmir respectively.
Jammu and Kashmir, the only state where the legislative Assembly has a six-year tenure, is due to go to polls before December 2014 and Omar made it clear that this would be his ministerial team all the way to the elections barring anything unforeseen.
Besides Wani, others dropped were Surjit Singh Slathia, Qamar Ali Akhoon, Abdul Gani Malik, Aga Syed Ruhulla Mehdi, Javid Ahmad Dar of NC and Rajinder Singh Chib of Congress in the first reshuffle carried out by Omar after assuming the office of Chief Minister on January five, 2009.
Those included in the council of Ministers were Chowdhary Mohammed Ramzan, Mir Saifullah, Ajay Sadotra, state Assembly speaker Mohammed Akbar Lone, Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo, Feroz Ahmed and Nazir Ahmed Khan from NC and Ghulam Ahmed Mir, Vikar Rasool Wani and Abdul Majid Wani from Congress.
"I don't expect to see any changes in the team before the polls in 2014 barring anything unforeseen," Omar said after the reshuffle.