Intense speculation on Chief Minister Omar Abdullah submitting resignation

Work at the Secretariat in J&K’s winter capital of Jammu has come to a grinding halt as Ministers from Kashmir rushed back to their constituencies, at the instance of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, to tackle the political turmoil there in the wake of Saturday’s hanging of Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru. .

Highly placed sources in the coalition government told The Hindu that almost all National Conference Ministers arrived in the summer capital on Monday afternoon. They met Mr. Abdullah at his residence and later fanned out to different areas by road or helicopter. The sources said the Congress Ministers —Taj Mohiuddin, Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed and Ghulam Ahmad Mir — were expected to follow suit.

NC Ministers Abdul Rahim Rather (Finance) and Mian Altaf Ahmad (Forests) would arrive here on Tuesday as both of them, according to the government sources, were preoccupied with some other important work. While Mr Rather, who suffered a fracture in the foot in January, has reduced his movements and is busy with budget preparation, Mr. Altaf was being called from his tour of the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch.

Earlier in the day, there was intense speculation that the Chief Minister intended to submit his resignation over the Centre rejecting his plea to commute Afzal Guru’s death sentence to a life term. However, men of consequence in his government and the party insisted that the Ministers were being summoned only to reach out to the people. Even the MLAs of the worst-hit constituencies including Javed Ahmad Dar of Rafiabad (where one protester died and five others sustained injuries in CRPF firing) were called back and sent to their areas.

Some senior bureaucrats and Director-General of Police Ashok Parasad are camping in Srinagar along with the Chief Minister, to monitor the situation.