CM designate Ms Mehbooba Mufti
CM designate Ms Mehbooba Mufti


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PDP president Ms Mehbooba Mufti is finally taking oath of office as the first female chief minister in J&K’s history. She is succeeding her father Mufti Sayeed who passed away on January 7 following which N N Vohra took over as the defector ruler of the state.

It took Mufti’s PDP and the BJP almost three months of intense interactions to get the shaky alliance back on rails and pave way for government formation. Vohra will administer oath of office to Ms Mufti and her council of ministers in the lawns of Jammu’s Raj Bhawan.

Initially it was suggested that the occasion would be low-key, reports said it has emerged a major affair as nearly 1000 guests have been invited by the two parties. When Mufti Sayeed took oath of office in March 2015, the Zorawar Stadium in the University of Jammu could not house many people.

Sources said a number of people from outside J&K are gracing the occasion. Apart from various political entities, a battery of top media personalities is flying to Jammu. These include Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghosh, M N Padmanaban and a team from ETV. Hindustan Times chairperson Ms Shubna Bharti is flying in a private jet to grace the occasion.

To make the oath taking a statement on women’s’ empowerment front, PDP had invited all the top 20 women from across India including politicians. It was not immediately known how many of them have agreed top be part of the function.

Those in attendance include Ms Mufti’s the sisters and their families, her brother, and her uncles from maternal and paternal side. While the medico sister of Ms Mufti lives in US, her doctor sister is settled in Chennai. Her cinematographer brother Tasaduq Mufti is operated from Banglarore.

A law graduate, Ms Mufti joined politics in 1995 and is 56 years old. She has been member of the state legislative assembly twice and also represented south Kashmir in Lok Sabha twice. She flew to Jammu only on Sunday and was accompanied by her mother Gulshan Ara, brother Tasaduq, sisters Rubaiyya and Mehmooda, daughters Irtiqa and Iltija and uncle Muhammad Sartaj Madni.

BJP is flying Venkaih Naidu, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister in the PMO Jitendra Singh, BJP’s point-man on Kashmir Ram Madhav to attend the function.

Though there have been reports about some changes in the last few days, officials said 24 ministers will take oath of office. BJP had plans of changing two cabinet ministers but reports suggest the idea has been shelved at the last moment. This suggests that Ms Mufti would be heading the same cabinet that her father had constituted. It, however, remains to be seen if she would be able to change the portfolios.

After Mufti’s demise, PDP is left with 27 members and BJP has 25. Ms Mufti is a Lok Sabha member and will have to be a member of either of the two houses within six months of taking over. This essentially means the south Kashmir Lok Sabha will have to go to polls soon. The two party alliance has Sajjad Gani Lone as a member with his two MLAs.


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