Mehbooba Mufti Set To Take Over As J&K Chief Minister From Father Mufti Sayeed

17 November 2015
The Economic Times
Hakeem Irfan

Srinagar: People's Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti is set to become the first woman chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, where the party is in ruling in coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party. The transition seems imminent, as chief minister Mufti Sayeed has dropped enough hints about his daughter's ascendance to the throne. However, coalition partner BJP and some critics within PDP are likely to demand their pound of flesh for permitting a smooth transition. BJP's J&K chapter is convening a meeting in Jammu later this week to discuss the matter, while senior leaders in PDP are already trying to build a consensus within the party, to avoid any last minute embarrassment. The BJP has the option to ask for more ministerial berths or relook at the power-sharing agreement, like asking for the CM's chair for at least three years. 'Mufti sahab has sent clear signals about the transition. It is a serious matter. We will talk to all our MLAs and later consult central leadership,' BJP's state general secretary Ashok Kaul told ET. Sayeed, while addressing a presser in Jammu had said that Mehbooba taking over as chief minister of the state was 'part of democracy.' 'Really, it is she who is doing the job in the field and I work behind the scene and other areas. Whatever consolidation has come to the party was not because of me,' said Sayeed. The chief minister further batted for Mehbooba saying, 'I did not win (the poll). She won from Bijbehara in 1996 (assembly elections). She has worked hard for that.' Mehbooba, 56, herself set the ball rolling in September, while addressing a gathering in Anantnag district of south Kashmir. She expressed concern about Sayeed's well being and asked people to pray for his health. 'Is there any other choice than Mehboobaji. She is the president and has huge grass root political experience to back her,' a senior PDP leader told ET. Mehbooba is among the founder members of PDP, which came into being in 1999, after 151 people signed a vision document. Mehbooba along with another PDP founder member and current rebel, Tariq Hamid Karra, were instrumental in breaking the coalition with Congress in 2008, after transfer of land to the Amarnath Shrine Board.