Strain in BJP-PDP ties in the open ahead of Modi’s visit

Prime Minister to unveil Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Plan.

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:05 pm IST

Published - November 07, 2015 01:55 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Security personnel keep vigil outside Sher-i-Kashmir Stadium in Srinagar, venue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Saturday rally. Photo: Nissar Ahmad

Security personnel keep vigil outside Sher-i-Kashmir Stadium in Srinagar, venue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Saturday rally. Photo: Nissar Ahmad

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally unveils the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Plan 2015 for Jammu and Kashmir in Srinagar on Saturday, he is likely to find himself in the thick of some embarrassing disclosures about Nirmal Kumar Singh of the BJP, the Deputy Chief Minister of the State, where the party is in alliance with the PDP.

While expectations run high ahead of Mr. Modi’s visit, Mr. Singh’s controversial decisions in the Power Ministry, of which he is in charge, have again turned the attention to the tenuous equations the BJP has with the PDP. From Article 370 to beef, the allies have not been on the same page.

Ripples caused by Mr. Singh’s decisions to transfer over 240 officials within the Ministry of Power Development, red-flagged by Principal Secretary Sundeep Kumar Naik, and attempts to reconstitute the boards of four power companies, which resulted in the intervention of Law Minister Bhasharat Bukhari of the PDP, leading to the abrupt transfer of Mr. Naik, are unlikely to die down in the wake of the Prime Minister’s visit to the Valley.

Mr. Bukhari said, “I would not have intervened had it not been for the objections raised by the principle secretary. This seems to be a random exercise. Department must apply full mind and follow set procedures already notified by government from time to time in this regard. Even if there is a need to affect premature transfers in the interest of administration, the reasons should be recorded for such urgency/act by the competent authority.”Mr Bukhari added, “It is a technical department and it must be ensured that right people are appointed otherwise it can prove hazardous. Why should there be any deviations from business rules.”

Though it is anybody’s guess what Mr. Modi will finally unveil, the plan is pegged at Rs. 90,000 crore, of which the power sector is likely to grab the lion’s share, roughly 40 per cent.

In a presentation made to the Power Ministry in New Delhi in July this year, the State demanded Rs. 43,850 crore. Power holds the key to the State’s health, and it is this department under the BJP which has seen the controversial decisions taken by Mr. Singh. For one, and as senior bureaucrats in the State observe, Mr. Singh appeared to push the case of the Chennai-based Then India Energy Pvt. Ltd., in a joint venture with Venayak Company of Jammu to produce 100-MW solar energy for the State. The local daily State Times first reported on the pressure brought to bear upon the Principal Secretary to change the terms of contract, leading to his transfer. Mr. Singh denies this charge.

When contacted, his office said: “The project was conceived and approved by the Science and Technology Ministry when the National Conference was in power.”

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah refuted the charges and told The Hindu , “It is a convenient cover-up on the part of the Deputy Chief Minister to blame me. It is the officer who is saying he was pressurised and later transferred when he refused to follow the minister’s order. Also, the new government is well within its rights to review decisions taken by the previous government.”

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