March 24:Mehbooba Mufti is all set to become the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir after she was unanimously elected the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) legislature party leader at a meeting on Thursday.
Mehbooba is PDP’s nominee for the Chief Minister’s post, said senior party leader Muzaffar Baig after the meeting.
This is the first constitutional step taken by the PDP to end nearly a two-and-a-half-month-old uncertainty over government formation in the state, which has been under Governor’s rule since January 8.
Mehbooba is scheduled to meet Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra on Friday.
Vohra on Wednesday had written to PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and BJP state president Sat Sharma to meet him on Friday to clarify their stand on government formation. The meetings have been scheduled following Mehbooba’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday.
“You will see a government in very near future … there are now certain formalities and the dye has been cast. The swearing-in date will be decided after the meeting with the Governor,” said senior PDP leader and MP Muzzaffar Baig after the meeting. “Entire party threw support behind Mehbooba as leader of the legislature party as well as Chief Ministerial candidate.”
The decision to elect Mehbooba as party leader came after a crucial meeting of the party’s legislators at her highly-guarded Fairview residence at Gupkar on Thursday evening. Her name was proposed by senior party leader Abdul Rehman Veeri and seconded by top party leadership.
Mehbooba thanked “all party leaders, legislators and workers who stood behind her during tough times”.
“Thank you for choosing me as the leader of PDP legislature party. You all are my strength,” Mehbooba told the legislators during the meeting.
She reportedly did not divulge to the legislators as to what transpired during her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi that broke the over two-month-long deadlock.
“Only after I was satisfied, I decided to move on,” she is believed to have told the meeting.
The meeting, which also elected Mehbooba as Chief Ministerial nominee, was attended MP Tariq Karra, who along with Baig arrived in Srinagar today to attend the meeting. Karra has been publically opposing the alliance with the BJP.
On whether the BJP has conceded any demands of the PDP for government formation, Baig said they had not set any new conditions.
“We did not put forth any fresh conditions for government formation,” he said.
The PDP-BJP alliance ran the government for 10 month till the sudden demise of then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7. For the last over two months, the PDP has been maintaining that it was seeking time-bound implementation of the “Agenda of Alliance” for re-launching the alliance with the BJP.
Hours before the crucial party meeting, Mehbooba Mufti visited her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s grave in south Kashmir’s Bijbehara to offer prayers.
“Mehbooba reached the grave at Dara-Shikoh garden in Bijbehara at 1 pm and left within half an hour of her arrival. Mehbooba was accompanied by her daughter,” the sources said.