March 2016 News

New Jammu And Kashmir Govt Likely To Be Sworn In Early Next Week

27 March 2016
Gyan Varma

New Delhi: The new government to be formed by the alliance of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to be sworn in early next week. PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and Nirmal Singh, senior leader of BJP, had met Jammu and Kashmir governor N.N. Vohra on Saturday, to jointly stake claim to form the government. When it happens, Mehbooba Mufti will be the first woman chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and the top post will also be a test of her administrative skills since the PDP chief has never held any administrative post in Jammu and Kashmir or at the national level. 'We are very happy that Jammu and Kashmir will get its first woman chief minister. We expect the new chief minister to not only carry forward the development work in the state but also be more sensitive towards the aspirations of women in the state. BJP has extended full support to Mehbooba Mufti and we hope she will be able to meet the expectations and aspirations of the people of the state,' said a senior leader of BJP from Srinagar. BJP leaders explained that while PDP leadership had not mentioned any specific date for swearing-in of the new chief minister but some of the BJP leaders were keen that it should take place during the auspicious days of Navratra, an important Hindu festival starting from 7 April which will continue till Ram Navami on 15 April. 'Some BJP leaders are keen that swearing-in happens during Navratra; the talks are on. There is no date decided yet,' the BJP leader added. The 2014 state elections threw up a hung assembly in which the PDP won 28 seats, mainly from the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley, and the BJP 25, almost all from the Hindu-dominated Jammu region, leading to a coalition government headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Following his death on 7 January, a political vacuum descended on the state as BJP and PDP failed to reach an understanding on forming an alliance again. The breakthrough came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped-in last week and met Mehbooba Mufti. Soon after the meeting, Mehbooba Mufti was elected leader of legislature party by PDP leaders and BJP leaders too extended unconditional support to the PDP leadership. Interestingly, Mehbooba had earlier asked the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to take confidence building measures before government formation. The PDP leadership was keen that NDA begin the dialogue process with the Kashmiri separatists groups, resume talks with Pakistan, repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from some districts and get the army to vacate occupied land. 'Mehbooba Mufti is also under pressure from her Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) because they too don't want another elections. It is also interesting that Mehbooba Mufti has agreed to form an alliance with BJP because some BJP leaders had raised serious doubts over her brand politics in the past. This is a historic alliance between the two parties and people have expectations from the two parties because they promised politics of development,' said A.K. Verma, Kanpur based political analyst and political science professor at Christ Church College.