Soz is new JKPCC chief, to retain Union portfolio

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New Delhi, Jan 25 (UNI) Union Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz will be the new chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC), a move aimed at giving a boost to the party prospects in the crucial Assembly elections later this year.

An official announcement to this effect would be made in a day or two.

Sources said Prof Soz would, for the time being, retain the portfolio of Water Resources Ministry.

They said the Congress High Command has informed Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad of the decision.

The sources further said Prof Soz was not ''too keen'' to occupy the top party post in Jammu and Kashmir, where the crucial Assembly elections are scheduled for September-October this year.

A large number of supporters of Prof Soz have been camping in the national capital for the past several days in anticipation of the decision after the resignation of Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed from the post.

Sayeed, a former Education and Haj and Auqaf Minister, resigned from the Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet and the party post on January 17 following allegations of bribery levelled against him by a legislator.

Independent legislator Shoaib Lone had alleged in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on January 11 that Sayeed demanded and took from him Rs 40,000 for giving permission to his sister to open an elementary teacher training institute in the Valley.

UNI AG HS AS1621

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