Mehbooba Mufti set to be next chief minister of J&K

Srinagar, March 24 (IANS) Mehbooba Mufti is all set to become the first woman chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, after she was unanimously nominated as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the post, sources said.

The PDP nominated Mehbooba, 56, as the legislature party leader and thus cleared decks for her to succeed her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who died in January, as the chief minister of the state.

The sources said Mehbooba’s name to head the PDP in the state assembly was proposed by senior party leader Muzaffar Hussain Beigh and was seconded by his senior colleague Abdur Rehman Veeri.

The decision came as the party held a crucial meeting of its lawmakers who had gathered to discuss the government formation in the state. It was a constitutional requirement before Mehbooba stakes claim to power in India’s only Muslim majority state.

She presently represents south Kashmir’s Anantnag constituency in the Lok Sabha. She will now have to get elected to either house of the state’s bicameral legislature and also resign her Lok Sabha seat.

Jammu and Kashmir has been without an elected government after Mehbooba’s father died in a Delhi hospital on January 7.

She was tipped to take over the reins soon but she dragged her feet on continuing to ally with the BJP and wanted it to redraw the alliance terms that had father had authored. After remaining entrenched in their respective positions for more than two months, the two partners warmed up to each other following Mufti’s meeting with Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday in Delhi.

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