J&K set to get popular Govt today after about 3 months

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April 4:After about nearly three months, Jammu and Kashmir will once again get popular Government today with oath ceremony of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti as the Chief Minister and her Council of Ministry comprising the legislators of two Alliance partners-PDP and BJP.
Governor NN Vohra will administer oath of office and secrecy to 56 years old Mehbooba Mufti in the lawns of Raj Bhavan at 11 am today morning in the presence of Union Urban Development and Parliamentary Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister of State in PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh and other prominent personalities.
Naidu and Dr Singh will reach here tomorrow morning from New Delhi to join oath ceremony of the PDP-BJP coalition Government, which is being revived after nearly about three months. The Government had ceased to exist on January 7 with the death of then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
Soon after the swearing-in ceremony, the Governor’s rule in the State, which was imposed on January 8, will come to an end. Governor NN Vohra will sign a proclamation to this effect.
“All 24 Ministers from PDP and BJP, the maximum the State can have as per the Constitution, will take oath along with Mehbooba Mufti,” official sources told.
They said majority of Ministers, who were part of former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led Cabinet, were likely to be repeated by both the parties, barring few exceptions.
BJP president Amit Shah has authorized party vice president and Incharge Jammu and Kashmir, Avinash Rai Khanna to take final call on the party leaders to be inducted in the Council of Ministry and portfolios to be allocated to them.
Khanna, who reached here today, was engaged in discussions with party leaders. Sources said one of the former Minister, who was sure to be dropped by the BJP, is being retained despite adverse reports of serious nature against him with the party high command.
Sources said the BJP high command has conveyed to the J&K Incharge that there should be “uniform criteria” of change in the Council of Ministry or portfolios and nothing should be done on “selective basis”.
“There should be no selective basis for dropping the Ministers. A uniform criteria should be adopted for all and nothing should be done on selective basis,” sources said.
According to sources, the BJP high command was of the view that since the Incharge BJP and top State leadership has to run coalition Government with the PDP, they should be given free hand in formation and running the Government.
“Barring minor changes, most of the faces in Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Government were likely to be retained by Mehbooba. The portfolios were also expected to be the same excepting minor changes,” sources said.
They added that share of PDP and BJP in the coalition Government was likely to be same as was in the previous Government in which the PDP had 13 Ministers (10 Cabinet and three Ministers of State) and BJP 11 Ministers (8 Cabinet and three Ministers of State).
Meanwhile, re-organization of the PDP following resignation of the office bearers was expected after few days of the oath ceremony.
“Mehbooba would take few days after tomorrow’s oath ceremony to re-organize the party,” sources said.
It may be mentioned here that all office bearers of the party had resigned to pave way for re-structuring of the party.
Mehbooba assuming office will be a landmark event in the history of Jammu and Kashmir as well as rest of the country.
She will be the first woman to head a Government in Jammu and Kashmir.
Governor N N Vohra yesterday invited the PDP president to form and lead the PDP-BJP coalition Government in the State.
“The Governor’s invitation to (Mehbooba) Mufti follows the earlier discussions with the PDP and BJP presidents regarding formation of Government in the State and the subsequent communications received from her and Sat Sharma, president, J&K BJP in regard to this matter,” an official spokesman said.
The PDP-BJP Government can expect a smooth run if the two ideologically opposite parties can avoid controversies that dogged their first brush together with power when Mufti Mohammad Sayeed headed the Government for 10 months till his death on January 7.
The PDP-BJP coalition, which also has Sajjad Gani Lone led Peoples’ Conference as a constituent, has 56 MLAs in the 87-member Assembly.
The PDP has 27 members while BJP has 25. Peoples’ Conference has two MLAs while two other Independents are supporting the coalition.
The revival of the PDP-BJP coalition Government in the State – after three months of stalemate – became possible after several rounds of hectic negotiations between the two parties and apparent intervention by Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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