Shoulder Kashmir responsibility with Omar, PC told

Reluctant minister persuaded by colleagues

Singh is said to have told Chidambaram that he should, through this informal arrangement, monitor the Kashmir situation more closely following the near-failure of “absentee Chief Minister” Omar Abdulla in controlling the explosive situation.

 Although the minister is understood to have initially expressed his reluctance, it is learnt that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and the Congress leadership convinced him. Chidambaram’s reluctance stemmed out from the fact that it was wrong to stick his neck out when J&K has an elected government and the Centre was in any case giving help.

Through this arrangement, Home Ministry sources told Deccan Herald here on Thursday that the Centre has told state governor N N Vohra, the chief secretary and core commanders, Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen A M Verma and state Police Chief Kuldeep Khoda to be regularly in touch with Chidambaram.

Politically, the Congress-led UPA knows well that the chief minister has all but lost hold on the administration and his disconnect with the people had been exposed badly during the violence. Chidambaram being in the loop will help the CM tackle the situation and any future burst in violence better, it is argued.

This is also because the Congress leadership wants the Abdulla’s National Conference-Congress coalition government to survive. Abdulla has already been told to reach out to the people something which has been found wanting from him. That Congress leader Rahul Gandhi played a key role in installing his friend Abdulla in the CM’s seat is another reason for the leadership to take keen interest in the state, apart from the security angle.

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