Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Ms Mehbooba Mufti has been sworn in as the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday.
Ending 11 weeks of political uncertainties, Governor N.N. Vohra administered oath of Chief Minister’s office to Ms Mufti. Along with her 22 ministers, including BJP’s Nirmal Singh also took oath.
With this, 56-year-old Ms Mufti who took oath in
Urdu is 13th chief minister of the state. Mufti succeeds her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who died in January this year.
BJP’s Nirmal Singh would be the deputy chief minister, the same post he held in the previous government headed by Sayeed.
Other 16 members of Cabinet minister who took oath are Abdul Rehman Bhat Veeri, Ghulam Nabi Lone, Abdul Haq Khan, Syed Basharat Bukhari, Haseeb A. Drabu, Chauhary Zulfikar Ali, Syed Naeem Akhtar and Molvi Imran Raza Ansari from PDP and BJP’s Nirmal Singh, Chander Prakash, Bali Bhagat, Chaudhary Lal Singh, Sajad Gani Lone, Shayam Lal Chaudhary and Abdul Gani Kohli. Other ministers of state are Asiya Naqash, Syed Farooq Ahmed Andrabi and Zahoor Ahmed Mir from PDP and Sunil Kumar Sharma, Priya Sethi and Ajay Nanda from BJP.
No major changes in the portfolios worked out by the two parties in 2015 are expected. As per the agreement reached between BJP-PDP the portfolios like home, finance, revenue, law and justice and education will remain with the PDP while BJP will keep health, urban development, power, commerce and industries and public health engineering.
Union ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Jitdendra Singh were present for the oath ceremony, which was also attended by former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah. Mufti’s mother Gulshan Ara Nazir, daughters Iltija and Irtiqa and siblings Tassaduq Sayeed, Mahmooda Sayeed and Rubaiya Sayeed were also present.
Ms Mufti who is a law graduate, entered the politics by joining Congress, along with her father, at a time when militancy was at its peak. She is credited with growth of the PDP with some observers arguing that she outshone her father in connecting with the common people, especially the youths. She was also accused of playing the soft-separatist card.
She became a Lok Sabha MP from Anantnag seat. Following the death of her father and former PDP leader Sayeed Mufti, Mehabooba was reluctant to form government with BJP and had publicly asked for J&K-specific Confidence-Building-Measures (CBMs) towards creating congenial atmosphere. In view of delay in government formation, Jammu and Kashmir was placed under Governor rule January 8. The PDP-BJP deadlock ended only after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ms. Mufti on March 23.
Ms Mufti is India’s second woman Muslim chief minister after Syeda Anwara Taimur who became Assam’s CM on December 6, 1980 and continued in office till June 30, 1981.
Mufti also became the 16th woman chief minister to serve a state. Currently, there are four in office – Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu, Anandiben Patel in Gujarat, Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan and Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal.