No word yet on who made it to new J-K council of ministers

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April 3:As PDP president Mehbooba Mufti prepares to take charge tomorrow as the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, there is no word yet on who all made it to the council of ministers.

“We are all in Jammu for the swearing-in ceremony but we have not been informed yet as to who all are going to be included in the council of ministers tomorrow. At least I have not been informed yet,” an influential PDP leader and a former minister told .

He said the PDP president has not yet given any hint as to who all will be in her team that will be sworn in tomorrow.

“I think the prospective ministers from our party will be informed by this evening,” he said on the condition of anonymity.

Sources in the PDP said Mehbooba is likely to hold a meeting of senior party leaders later this evening for finalising her team of ministers.

“Besides deciding on the team of ministers, Mehbooba is also likely to appoint new party office bearers. Some senior party leaders who were ministers in theMufti Mohammad Sayeed government may be given important party posts,” the sources said.

They said performance of the former ministers during the 10-month PDP-BJP coalition under Sayeed will be the yardstick for the ministers to be retained in the new cabinet.

“There might not be wholesale changes in the team of ministers but reshuffling of portfolios is definitely on the cards,” the sources said.

Senior party leaders and Lok Sabha MPs Muzaffar Hussain Baig and Tariq Hamid Karra might be considered for senior positions in the party structure as accommodating them in the council of ministers would mean the PDP facing by-elections to more than one Lok Sabha seat — a situation that the party wants to avoid in immediate future.

Mehbooba is likely to retain the party presidency but may appoint a working president with limited powers for running day to day affairs of the party, the sources said.

The BJP, which will retain its previous portfolios, is also likely to make some changes in its ministerial team.

A BJP leader said the party would finalise its list of ministers later this evening.

The 56-year-old Mehbooba will be the first woman chief minister of the state as her swearing in ceremony is scheduled at Raj Bhawan in Jammu at 11 AM tomorrow.

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