Mufti sworn-in as J&K CM; More cabinet berths for BJP

RSTV Bureau
Jammu: New Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti exchages greetings with former Union Minister Farooq Abdullah, former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah and other guests after taking oath at Raj Bhawan in Jammu on Monday. PTI Photo

Jammu: New Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti exchages greetings with former Union Minister Farooq Abdullah, former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah and other guests after taking oath at Raj Bhawan in Jammu on Monday. PTI Photo

On Monday morning, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. She has become the first woman CM of the state.

BJP’s Nirmal Singh, who is slated to be the Deputy CM of the state was also sworn-in by Governor N N Vohra at the Raj Bhawan in Jammu.

The Governor administered oath to 56-year-old Mehbooba, the 13th Chief Minister of the state, along with 21 other ministers. This time the BJP got an increased share in the number of cabinet berths. It now has 8 berths instead of 6 and 3 Ministers of State (MoS). The PDP has 9 cabinet ministers instead of 11 and has 3 MoS berths.

The oath-taking ceremony was conducted amidst tight security. Former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar, Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Jitendra Singh were among the host of VIPs present at the function held at Raj Bhavan.

The demise of former CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed earlier this year led to almost three months of Governor’s rule in the state. During this period PDP and BJP struggled hard to cobble up their alliance after months of negotiations.

Congress stayed away from the swearing-in ceremony and called the PDP-BJP coalition as “unholy alliance”.

“Both PDP and BJP have disrespected the mandate of the people, as they won the mandate by pitting people against each other on all ideological and core issues of Jammu and Kashmir and for the greed of power they decided to come closer,” chief spokesman of the Congress in the state Ravinder Sharma told PTI on Sunday.

Jammu: New Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, hugs her mother Gulshan Ara Nazir after Mufti took the oath of office during a ceremony in Jammu on  Monday.   PTI Photo

Jammu: New Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, hugs her mother Gulshan Ara Nazir after Mufti took the oath of office during a ceremony in Jammu on Monday. PTI Photo

Mehbooba has become India’s second woman Muslim Chief Minister after Syeda Anwara Taimur who became Assam’s CM on December 6, 1980.

Mehbooba, who is PDP’s Lok Sabha MP from Anantnag, now has six months’ time to contest election and win as MLA or MLC. She is likely to contest from the Anantnag assembly seat which fell vacant after the death of her father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed.

The PDP-BJP coalition, which also has Sajad Gani Lone led Peoples’ Conference as a constituent, has 56 MLAs in the 87-member Assembly. PDP has 27 members, BJP has 25 members, the National Conference (NC) has 15 and Congress has 12 members, whereas six seats are held by independent and smaller parties.

The revival of the PDP-BJP coalition government in the state after 86 days of stalemate became possible after several rounds of hectic negotiations between the two parties and apparent intervention by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Following Sayeed’s death, Governor’s Rule was imposed in the state as the PDP and the BJP did not stake fresh claim for government formation in the state.

The PDP had earlier said it was looking for assurances and confidence building measures from the Centre on the implementation of Agenda of Alliance – common minimum programme of the two parties – before forming the new government.

(With inputs from PTI)