Kashmir: Mehbooba Mufti becomes first woman CM of Jammu & Kashmir today!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
As per reports, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti is likely to take oath as first woman chief minister of Occupied Jammu Kashmir today, the April 04, ending 11 weeks of political uncertainty. JK slipped into the governor’s rule immediately after sitting Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed’s demise on January 7. The PDP-BJP stalemate ended only after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ms. Mufti on March 23.
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi is away on April 4, the swearing-in without his presence may be a low-key affair. Sources said Union Home Minister Rajnath might attend the function.
A senior PDP leader and former Vice Chancellor of Jammu University said in a tweet that the focus of new government led by Ms. Mehbooba Mufti would be on peace, reconciliation and development in Jammu and Kashmir. The PDP and BJP had staked claim for government formation on March 26, two days after Mehbooba Mufti was elected as leader of the legislative party.
Mehbooba’s decision to assume power in Sri Nagar followed the invitation extended by the Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra to PDP President Mehbooba Mufti to form the government in the state. When she assumes power, Mehbooba will become its first woman chief minister. The BJP had yesterday sent its letter of support for the Mehbooba Mufti-led government in Jammu and Kashmir to the Governor. The date for the swearing-in of the new Cabinet was decided after deliberations between the leadership of both the parties.
The Raj Bhawan spokesman said that the Governor NN Vohra has requested Ms. Mufti to form and lead the PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir. He said the Governor’s invitation to Ms Mufti follows the earlier discussions with the PDP and BJP chiefs regarding the formation of the new government and the subsequent communications received from both the parties, including state chief of BJP Sat Sharma. “The oath-taking ceremony is scheduled to be held on Monday, April 4 at the Raj Bhawan in Jammu”, the spokesman said.
The date was forwarded to the Raj Bhavan after last-minute consultations between the PDP and the BJP. Sources said Ms. Mufti got in touch with the BJP brass to prevent the State leadership from demanding more portfolios.
It’s learnt that the BJP pressured Ms. Mufti to renegotiate the portfolios of Finance, Planning and Home. The Home Ministry has traditionally been with the Chief Minister. The sources said Ms. Mufti expressed her unhappiness to the BJP leadership and sought an immediate end to the controversy. A top BJP leader in the State told The Hindu that Ms. Mufti and Nirmal Singh of the BJP held talks and reached consensus on Thursday.
As power-wealth hunger torments even the RSS sponsored BJP leaders, the BJP is facing heat within the party as many ‘patriotic’ Hindutva legislators in Jammu region are demanding Cabinet berths. Sources said the BJP may ease out prominent leaders because of the poor feedback from its ranks. “There are no differences. Distribution of portfolios will be decided by the Central leadership,” BJP State president Sat Sharma said, trying to keep the ‘patriotic” power greed dirt under the carpet.
BJP wanted strong signal from Mehbooba that all’s well and she would make a Hindu MLA the deputy CM in her cabinet. Mehbooba eventually relented New Delhi’s pressure tactics and agreed to form the government with BJP support so that Indian money begins to flow from New Delhi to Sri Nagar. Having tasted power and money in Kashmir, BJP MLAs are keen to continue the comforts in the name of Hindutva and mother India. Government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, which looked imminent after the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti in New Delhi, has eventually got going. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, instrumental in forging the alliance between the parties, said no new conditions had been accepted at the meeting between Modi and Ms. Mufti. “The Prime Minister asked the PDP chief to speak to BJP leaders and decide the future course of action. Mehboobaji wanted the Prime Minister’s blessings and Modiji assured her of all help,” he said.
Madhav’s remarks indicated that while the photo-op with the Prime Minister was all well, the BJP was awaiting a strong signal from Ms. Mufti that things were on track. Her vacillation for the past two months had not gone down well with the BJP. Just because of this, a meeting between Ms. Mufti and Modi was cancelled at the last minute last week. Madhav had said that the BJP would wait for the PDP legislature party meeting. Denying that any special demands were raised by the PDP chief, Madhav said, “We are of the view that whatever Mufti Sahab left behind should be taken forward, and we are willing to take it forward in the same form.”
Since January, the PDP had been blowing hot and cold over government formation, after the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed, the president of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is daughter of late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who served as former CM of Jammu and Kashmir. She deferred to her father’s experience, however, and became party vice-president. She resigned her assembly seat and went on to contest the parliamentary elections in 1999 from Srinagar, where she lost to the sitting member Omar Abdullah but won the Pahalgam seat in the state assembly from south Kashmir, defeating Rafi Ahmed Mir, when assembly elections were held again in 2002. She has been elected to the Lok Sabha from Anantnag seat in 2004 and 2014.
Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed (born 22 May 1959 in Akhran Nowpora) is the president of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) , the chief minister elect of J&K and the daughter of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who served as former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and died while in office.
When elections for the state assembly were held in 1996, Mehbooba became one of the most popular members elected from Bijbehara on an Indian National Congress ticket. Her father had at that time returned to the Congress, which he had left in 1987, angry at the alliance that party had formed with its traditional rival in the state, the National Conference. Mehbooba quickly made a mark as the leader of the opposition in the assembly, taking on the government of then chief minister Farooq Abdullah with asperity.
Mehbooba is one of the few female politicians from Kashmir who is recognized across all India. When Mufti split from the Indian National Congress to form the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party in 1999, many thought she would be the party president. She deferred to her father’s experience, however, and became party vice-president. She resigned her assembly seat and went on to contest the parliamentary elections in 1999 from Srinagar, where she lost to the sitting member Omar Abdullah but won the Pahalgam seat in the state assembly from south Kashmir, defeating Rafi Ahmed Mir, when assembly elections were held again in 2002. She has been elected to the Lok Sabha from Anantnag seat in 2004 and 2014. Her sister Rubaiya was famously kidnapped when their father was appointed India’s Home Minister in 1989, and released after a few days.
Mehbooba Mufti was a member of the 14th Lok Sabha (2004-2009), representing the Anantnag constituency of Jammu and Kashmir. Her party, PDP, failed to win a single seat in Lok Sabha elections in 2009 and she did not contest that year herself. But in 2014, she was elected again to the 16th Lok Sabha from Anantnag constituency. Following the death of her father due to sepsis and multiple organ failure in Delhi, Mehbooba Mufti is set to become the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
Mehbooba is a law graduate and she earned her law degree from the University of Kashmir.
People of Jammu Kashmir expect a lot from Mehbooba as being the first woman CM of Occupied Jammu Kashmir who assumes office in Sri Nagar on April 04. She must keep in mind people of Kashmir valley have high expectations from her, though she, like her father Sayed Mufti, has betrayed them by allowing a Hindu fanatic to be the deputy chief minister to pursue the Hindutva agenda in Kashmir valley.
A big responsibility lies on the shoulders of the new CM of Jammu Kashmir! However, if Mehbooba let the BJP decide the fate of Muslim in Kashmir valley as per the RSS ideology for Kashmir, she and her PDP party will face the wrath of Kashmiri people sooner than later who voted for PDP in preference to NC and Congress party.
Meanwhile, former ruling party Congress has decided to boycott the swearing in function of CM Mehbooba, signaling a tough journey for her.