Srinagar (Agency) :  Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary Muhammad Iqbal Khandey today decided to quit as the senior most bureaucrat of the state reportedly over differences with the ruling alliance."Yes, Khandey has decided to step down as the chief secretary of the state and he is submitting his papers for voluntary retirement," sources close to the bureaucrat told IANS in Srinagar.An IAS officer of the 1978 batch, Mr Khandey was made the Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir on February 18, 2013 during the National Conference-Congress ruling alliance headed by the then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.Speculation about Mr Khandey's differences with the political dispensation had come to light immediately after Mr Mufti Muhammad Sayeed headed Peoples

Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance formed the government in March.Media speculation had run high on August 21 about Mr Khandey's differences with the government when he did not attend the state Cabinet meeting.The Chief Secretary has to attend the Cabinet meetings as part of duties. But sources close to Mr Khandey said he was on leave on August 21 because of the death of his brother's grandson.Sources also said Mr Khandey had requested for a day's deferment of the Cabinet meeting because of his bereavement, but that was turned down which brought things to a dead end.Mr Khandey was otherwise scheduled to retire in November.The second senior-most IAS officer in the state, B.R. Sharma, is likely to replace Mr Khandey as the new Chief Secretary.
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