Mufti Mohammed Sayeed is known for an intelligent political sense polished by decades of experience in Kashmir politics. He took oath as the twelfth chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday after crafting a “historic” alliance with the BJP.
Muft, 79 was the India’s first Muslim Home Minister.
A soft politician, Mufti, who has changed political allegiance frequently, was at the helm of internal security as Home Minister when militancy reared its head in the Valley.
Before launching his own party Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party(JKPDP) in 1999 with his daughter Mehbooba Mufti, Sayeed spent considerable part of his political career in Congress with brief stints in Jan Morcha under V P Singh and also as Democratic National Conference (DNC) member led by G M Sadiq in 1950s.
An avid golfer like his arch rival Farooq Abdullah of National Conference, Mufti was able to form the government in J&K within three years of launching his own party with support from the Congress.
His party was, however, ousted in 2008 Assembly elections as Omar Abdullah led a coalition with the Congress.
Born on January 12, 1936 in Bijbehara in Islamabad district, Mufti is an alumnus of SP College in Srinagar and Aligarh Muslim University from where he obtained a degree in Law and Arab History respectively.
Mufti started his electoral journey from his birth place in 1962 winning the seat under DNC and retaining it in 1967 which saw him being made a Deputy Minister by Sadiq.
In 1972, he became a Cabinet Minster and also Congress party’s leader in the Legislative Council. In 1975 he was made the leader of the Congress Legislature Party and president of Pradesh Congress but lost the next two elections.
He joined Rajiv Gandhi’s Government at the Centre in 1986 as Union Minister for Tourism. A year later, he resigned in protest citing the alleged complacency of the Congress party in handling Meerut riots.