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Congress takes charge of J & K on Wednesday

Last updated on: November 01, 2005 19:55 IST
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Congress returns to power in Jammu and Kashmir state after three decades with Ghulam Nabi Azad slated to take charge tomorrow as chief minister heading a coalition government with People's Democratic Party.

Azad, 56, who will be the tenth chief minister of the state, is likely to keep a small and compact ministry. Sources say that five ministers are likely to be sworn in on Wednesday. Muzzaffar Hussain Baig, who has been elected PDP legislature party leader, is expected to take charge as deputy chief minister of the state.

Out-going chief minister Mufti Sayeed has convened a meeting of his People's Democratic party to finalise the names of its nominees for inclusion in the ministry tomorrow, sources said. All senior party leaders except Tourism Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir, who lost the race for PDP legislature party leadership to Baig, are expected to attend the meeting. Several political heavyweights like Abdul Aziz Zargar, Tariq Hamid Qarra, Sartaj Madni (Mufti's brother-in-law), Qazi Mohammad Afzal and Abdul Gaffar Sofi are expected to put forth their claims for ministerial berths at the meeting, they said.

Mufti Sayeed relinquished charge on Saturday under a power-sharing agreement between ruling coalition partners - Congress and PDP. The two decided to take turns at heading the government for three years during the six-year tenure of the state government. The last Congress Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir was Mir Qasim who resigned in 1975 to pave way for Shikh Abdullah under an accord with Indira Gandhi.

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