Shujaat Bukhari

SRINAGAR: B. R. Kundal on Friday became the first serving Chief Secretary to join politics and took oath as a Minister representing the Congress, at the Raj Bhavan here.

The papers for premature retirement submitted by him three months ago was accepted by the government on Friday. Though the swearing-in ceremony was scheduled for Monday last, it was postponed following resentment from a section of the Congress leaders who belong to the Scheduled Caste category. Their objection was to Mr. Kundal’s direct entry into Cabinet on the SC quota.

However, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad managed to get the issue resolved by the Congress central leadership and returned from Delhi to be present at the oath-taking ceremony.

Governor S. K. Sinha administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr. Kundal. Besides Mr. Azad, his ministerial colleagues and Union Ministers Saifuddin Soz and Jairam Ramesh were present.

The decks have been cleared for appointing S. S. Kapur as the new Chief Secretary. Presently Financial Commissioner (Home), Mr. Kapur is the 1974 batch IAS officer of J & K cadre and a seniormost officer with a distinguished career.