SRI NAGAR: After BJP president Amit Shah and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti sealed Jammu and Kashmir government formation deal in New Delhi, the coalition government headed by PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is likely to take oath on March 1 in Jammu, the state’s winter capital.
A senior PDP leader said now that Shah and Mehbooba, who met in New Delhi on Tuesday, have finalised the government formation deal, party patron Mufti would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi either on Wednesday or Thursday.
He said the Mufti-led government was expected to take oath on Sunday, March 1. “The venue for the swearing-in ceremony is being finalised. It is expected that the ceremony will take place at Jammu University’s Zorawar Auditorium,” he said.
The PDP leader said six ministers each from the BJP and the PDP would take oath along with Mufti.
According to the deal reached between the two parties, Mufti, 79, would be the Chief Minister for the full term of six years, while saffron party’s Nirmal Singh would be the Deputy Chief Minister.
The PDP-BJP coalition would be the watershed moment in the history of J&K because it would be for the first time that the BJP would be becoming part of the state government.
It would be Mufti’s second innings as J&K Chief Minister. He had headed a coalition government between the PDP and the Congress in 2002-2005. Sources said the Peoples Democratic Party and the BJP have agreed to distribute key portfolios, with the former likely to retain Home and give finance to the saffron party.
They said the PDP ministers likely to be sworn in with Mufti were Abdul Rehman Veeri, Naeem Akhtar, Altaf Bukhari, Haseeb Drabu, Zulfikar Choudhary and Abdul Haq.
The PDP and the BJP, which emerged as the two largest parties in the 87-member J&K Assembly with 28 and 25 seats, respectively, have been engaged in government formation talks for about two months.
The two parties, who are ideologically poles apart and contested the polls against each other, had earlier sorted out differences on key issues such as Article 370 (granting special status to J&K), Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), West Pakistan Refugees (WPRs), resumption of talks with Pakistan and separatists, and reclaiming power projects from NHPC.
J&K BJP general secretary (Organisation) Ashok Kaul told Express that 10-12 ministers were expected to take oath along with Mufti.