Other States

Mufti passes away, PDP backs Mehbooba to succeed him

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed passed away in New Delhi on Thursday morning of multiple organ failure, after a prolonged illness, and was buried with state honours in his home town of Bijbehara. In the evening, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders met Governor N.N. Vohra to assure him about the continuation of the government under the leadership of Mr. Sayeed’s daughter Mehbooba Mufti.

“The Governor has gone to Jammu. I think the swearing-in is not possible immediately,” PDP leader and political adviser to Mr. Sayeed, Waheed Para, told The Hindu.

The BJP, the ally of the PDP, said that while no discussion on the succession had taken place, there was “in principle” no objection to Ms. Mehbooba’s name. The Governor’s decision to leave for Jammu had given the BJP a chance to weigh its options. The party had not submitted its ‘letter of support’ till evening.Top party sources said two senior PDP leaders Altaf Bukhari, MLA, and Muzaffar Hussain Baig, MP, handed over the ‘letter of support’ to Mr. Vohra as the family was preparing for the funeral prayers.

Ms. Mehbooba, 56, also PDP president and MP from Anantnag, met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during the final rites of her father.

Mehbooba’s takeover unlikely to be smooth

Top Peoples Democratic Party sources said two senior PDP leaders Altaf Bukhari, MLA, and Muzaffar Hussain Baig, MP, handed over the ‘letter of support’ — backing Mehbooba Mufti to succeed the Mufti — to Governor N.N. Vohra as the family was preparing for the funeral prayers.

Ms. Mehbooba, 56, also PDP president and MP from Anantnag, met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during the final rites of her father.

There is consensus on Ms. Mehbooba within the PDP as the party candidate for chief minister. Though she was not ready to take over the reins before four days of mourning, several party leaders were for quick transfer of power. Even critical voices within the PDP that opposed an alliance with the BJP in the past reposed faith in Ms. Mehbooba. “Now it is not just the responsibility of Mehboobaji but the entire party to provide a better government. She is the right choice,” said Mr. Baig.

Sources said the PDP was interested in having a swearing-in ceremony in Srinagar’s Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC).

Since Ms. Mehbooba is an MP, she has to be a member of the Assembly either as MLA or MLC before she faces a vote of confidence in the House. Sources said the transition would not be easy as the BJP was likely to seek a reshuffle of the key portfolios. However, the BJP in the State remained silent on the issue.

“The BJP leaders will be meeting tomorrow [on Friday] to discuss the situation. The PDP has not yet discussed with us the name of Ms. Mehbooba or any other person. No such discussion has taken place so far,” BJP State president Sat Sharma said.

Mr. Sharma said there was no constitutional crisis in the State. “The Deputy Chief Minister is looking after the affairs and it will take some days for installation of the new CM,” he said. There seems no opposition to Ms. Mehbooba in the BJP leadership. And if the party agrees, Ms. Mehbooba could be the first female CM of the State.


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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 7:05:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/Mufti-passes-away-PDP-backs-Mehbooba-to-succeed-him/article13986525.ece

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