Srinagar Mar 14: Haseeb Drabu, the former state’s finance minister, was sacked on Monday, after his remark that Kashmir is “not a political issue” triggered a huge controversy. Mr Drabu was the key channel of communication between the PDP and the BJP and was instrumental in helping the alliance survive the rocky patches since it was cobbled out in 2015.
But sources and top voices state that there are more reasons behind his ouster. Top sources in state Finance Department said Drabu – who played a crucial role in having Centre’s controversial Goods and Services Tax (GST) enforced in the state, which otherwise enjoys special status” by virtue of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and this enraged the valleyites and business community outhere.
Not only this, Drabu was under scrutiny for having allegedly flexed the rules to exempt some private firms from the new tax regime. In this regard, a leading Mumbai-based firm was given a tax exemption for construction of a hydro-electric project in central Kashmir . Sources state Chief Minister Mehbooba was already unhappy over relaxations for firms outside the state, which have cost Jammu and Kashmir’s own exchequer.
Political observers state that we should Try to understand that no senior minister who played a significant role in government formation is sacked for a mere remark unless something has already been cooking up against him”
Top leadership in the PDP say CM feared Drabu, a former banker who was also close to some senior BJP leaders, was trying to “destabilize the central authority of CM Mehbooba Mufti .” It is believed that she had asked her loyalists in the administration to keep track of his movements.
The famous couplet – Na khuda he mila na wisalay saman/Na idhar ke rahay, na udhar ke rahe – seems to have acquired a real life meaning for Haseeb Drabu as with sacking his future in politics looks bleak. (KNB)