The decision to appoint Sagar as party’s general secretary in place of ailing Sheikh Nazir was announced by party chief Farooq Abdullah at the core group of the party on Monday.

While Farooq’s cousin Nazir, who is not in a good health these days, has been appointed as a patron of the party, the decision to appoint a non-Sheikh person as party’s general secretary has come as a major surprise for everyone in the Kashmir Valley as Abdullah family has for long enjoyed a clinching hegemony in the National Conference.

The ruling National Conference -Congress coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir failed to garner even a single seat in the region, which sends six MPS to the Lower House.

The BJP performed really well here by winning three seats while the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) also won three seats in the state. The BJP had drawn blank in previous two general elections.

Since the party’s rout in Lok Sabha polls, Farooq has chaired as many as six meetings of the party’s core group and the decision that was taken on Monday is seen as the aftermath of a deep introspection by senior party leaders over their humiliating defeat.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had earlier said on his Twitter account that the major reason behind the BJP’s surprising performance in the valley was the boycott of the polls by the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC).

Sagar, who represents the Khanyar constituency in the state assembly, is one of the oldest non-Sheikh members of the National Conference and currently holds the portfolio of Rural Development Ministry in Omar’s Cabinet.

However, reports claim that it is unlikely that he would relinquish his position in Omar’s Cabinet.

Sagar is also a prominent face of the party in the Srinagar constituency from where Farooq lost to his PDP rival.

For National Conference to mount a comeback in the valley, Srinagar holds the key for them as it was first time in the history that the party had failed to win from this prestigious constituency.

The move is seen as an attempt to pacify the disgruntled Kashmiris, who voted heavily against the ruling National Conference -Congress coalition in the general election.

Reports claim that more structural changes in the party are expected in the coming days.

(JPN)

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