Miffed Sajad Lone refuses to join Mufti's cabinet

Jammu: Upset over the portfolio allocated to him, Sajad Gani Lone of the Peoples Conference (PC) on Wednesday refused to join the council of ministers in the PDP-BJP government headed by Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.

Lone was miffed over allocation of the animal husbandry department portfolio to him by Sayeed Tuesday.

He did not attend his office in winter capital Jammu on Wednesday and instead chose to fly back to the Valley.

"Yes, he has refused to join the council of ministers. He has also surrendered all entitlements including security, official vehicle and other perks given to him as a cabinet minister," said a Peoples Conference source.

The source said Sajad is flying back to Srinagar Wednesday.

On whether he had resigned from the council of ministers, the source said: "No, he has not resigned so far, but a decision on whether he should resign from the council of ministers or not would be taken after he meets party rank and file in the Valley."

Sajad, according to his party men, was unhappy over allotment of what believes to be, "an insignificant portfolio like animal husbandry".

Peoples Conference activists argue that the former separatist leader who joined the electoral fray and won state assembly elections from north Kashmir Handwara constituency last year deserved a better deal so that he could convince his voters that joining mainstream politics would usher in better days for the people in Kashmir.

The party has two seats in the 87-member state legislative assembly.

Lone has extended support to the BJP. He was sworn in as a cabinet minister on Sunday as a BJP nominee in the council of ministers headed by Mufti Sayeed.

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