Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Mohammad Sayeed passed away of multiple organ failure in New Delhi on Thursday morning after nearly a week-long hospitalisation. He was 79. "He died due to multi-organ failure at 9:10 this morning despite our best attempts to resuscitate him," said an AIIMS official.
Under treatment at the hospital since December 24, Mr. Sayeed, was detected with sepsis, decreased blood counts and pneumonia and his condition took a turn for the worse on Wednesday. He has been on ventilator support since early this week. Earlier, doctors had maintained that though he was on essential medication and supportive therapy the leader was hemodynamically stable but required respiratory support.
Mr Sayeed, a two-time chief minister, > started his second tenure on March 1st, 2015 in alliance with the BJP, after having led the State government between 2002-05 previously. He was the founder of the Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party (JKPDP) that he founded in 1999 to persuade "the Indian government into an unconditional dialogue with the Kashmiri people."
In a long career in politics, Mr Sayeed was a Congressman till 1987. He was Minister for Tourism in the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1986, after which he joined former Prime Minister V P Singh's National Front government as Home Minister. His short stint there (1989-90) was marred by the kidnapping by Kashmiri militants of his daughter Rubaiyya Sayeed.
Mr. Sayeed's other daughter Mehbooba Mufti is considered his political heir, and through his illness there has been talk of her succeeding as Chief Minister.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Mr. Sayeed was an exemplary leader:
What stood out about Mufti Sahab was his statesmanship. In his long political journey he won many admirers across the political spectrum.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) >January 7, 2016
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah condoled the death of Mr. Sayeed:
My heart felt sympathies to Mrs Syed, Mehbooba & the entire family in this most difficult of times. My & my family's prayers are with them.— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) >January 7, 2016
President Pranab Mukherjee tweeted his condolences:
Heartfelt condolences on the passing away of J & K CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed >#PresidentMukherjee— President of India (@RashtrapatiBhvn) >January 7, 2016
Home Minister Rajnath Singh expressed sadness over the demise of the CM:
The demise of Shri Mufti Sayeed is an irreparable loss to Jammu and Kashmir. His departure has also left a big void in national politics.— Rajnath Singh (@BJPRajnathSingh) >January 7, 2016
(With inputs from Bindu Perappadan)
A look at the veteran politician's career that spanned nearly six decades :
Stepping into politics
Sayeed joined the Democratic National Conference of G M Sadiq in the late 1950s. Sadiq, recognising the potential of the young lawyer, appointed him as the District Convenor of the party.
Into the Assembly
In 1962, Sayeed was elected to the state assembly from Bijbehara, the seat which he retained five years later. He was appointed a Deputy Minister by Sadiq, who by then had become Chief Minister.
He fell out with the DNC a few years later and joined the Indian National Congress, a decision that raised eyebrows at that time given the unstinted support of most Kashmiris to Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, who was in jail
In 1972, he became a Cabinet Minster and also Congress party’s leader in the Legislative Council. He was made the state Congress president a couple of years later.
Stint as Tourism Minister
In 1986, he was appointed as the Union Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Home Minister under V.P.Singh's reign
He quit as tourism minister in 1987, left the Congress and co-founded Jan Morcha with V.P. Singh. In 1989, he won the Lok Sabha election from Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh as a Janata Dal candidate and became the Union Home Minister in Prime Minister V.P. Singh’s cabinet. Sayeed was the first Muslim Home Minister.
Sayeed’s stint in the Home Ministry, at a time when militancy had begun to rear its ugly head in his home state, would, however, be most remembered for the kidnapping of his third daughter Rubaiya by JKLF. The militants demanded freeing five of their comrades in exchange for Rubaiya’s freedom and let her off only after their demand had been met.
Founding of PDP
In 1998, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed won the Anantnag / Islamabad Lok Sabha seat, but soon resigned from both his position and the Congress party to launch a regional party Peoples Democratic Party in the state. PDP participated in 2002 assembly election and went on to form a coalition government with Indian National Congress. In 2002, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir for a term of three years.
Second stint as CM
Sayeed became the unanimous choice for Chief Minister when PDP and BJP reached an agreement to form a coalition government and took oath on March 1, 2015.
Mufti laid to rest
Mr. Sayeed was laid to rest with full state honours in his ancestral graveyard of Bijbehara town in Anantnag district.
The mortal remains of Mr. Sayeed reached his official residence on Gupkar Road in Srinagar amidst sloganeering by supporters and workers of the PDP.
Mr. Sayeed’s coffin, draped in the National Tricolour and the Red-and-White flag of J&K, was later taken from his official residence to the ancestral graveyard in Anantnag.
Close relatives and senior PDP leaders were among those who had a final glimpse of Mr. Sayeed’s body before it was given a customary ablution as per Islamic rites.
The Namaaz-e-Janazah (funeral prayers) of the departed leader was offered in the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium at Sonawar, in which thousands of the mourners took part.
PDP workers had assembled from the length and breadth of the Kashmir Valley to pay their last respect to the two-time Chief Minister.
Former Chief Ministers of the state — Omar Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad — were among those who attended the funeral prayers which were led by Mr. Sayeed’s trusted aide, Education Minister Naeem Akhtar.
Mr. Sayeed was given full state honours after the funeral prayers — a 21-gun salute — and a police band played the ceremonial Last Post for the deceased Chief Minister.
The coffin, in a decked up police vehicle, was later taken in the form of a procession of vehicles to the ancestral town of Bijbehara of the PDP founder.
Mr. Abdullah, Mr. Azad and Mr. Sayeed’s son Mufti Tassaduq carried his coffin on their shoulders before it was laid to rest.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and State Governor N.N. Vohra were among those who visited the bereaved family at its Gupkar residence to offer condolences.
(With inputs from PTI)