SRINAGAR: Mehbooba Mufti, the 56-year-old PDP chief, is all set to become the first woman Chief Minister of the Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir after she was on Thursday unanimously elected as PDP’s legislature party leader and nominated as the party’s chief ministerial candidate.
In the meeting of party leaders and legislators convened at Mehbooba’s Fairview residence in Srinagar, she was unanimously elected as leader of the legislature party.
The over one-hour long meeting, convened by Mehbooba after her recent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, was attended by all party MLAs and MLCs. Independent MLA from Zanskar, Syed Bakar Rizvi, who had pledged his support, was also present.
Senior PDP leader and MP Muzaffar Hussain Baig told reporters later that the MLAs unanimously elected Mehbooba as leader of the legislature party, and nominated to the chief minister’s post. He said the swearing-in ceremony will be decided after meeting Governor N N Vohra.
Asked whether the PDP put forth any new conditions to form a coalition government with the BJP, Baig said, “No. The Agenda of Alliance is very comprehensive and there is no need to put any new issue.”
He said Mehbooba rebuilt the alliance with the BJP after her meeting with PM Modi.
Senior PDP leader and former Education Minister Naeem Akhtar said after Mehbooba’s nomination as the PDP legislature party leader and its CM candidate, further constitutional requirement and the process for the government formation would be taken to logical conclusion in consultation and coordination with coalition partner BJP. He said Mehbooba reiterated her resolve to work towards implementation of the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ formulated with the BJP last year.
The PDP chief accompanied by party leaders will meet Governor Vohra in Raj Bhavan, Jammu on Friday and stake claim to forming the coalition government. She will hand over a letter of support of party legislators. A BJP delegation would also meet the Governor on Friday separately.
Ahead of Thursday’s party meeting, Mehbooba visited the grave of her late father and former CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in Bijbehara, South Kashmir, accompanied by her two daughters, where she prayed for some time before returning to Srinagar.
Meanwhile, BJP national vice president Ram Madhav and MoS PMO Jitendra Singh will be arriving in Jammu on Friday to hold a meeting with State party leaders and legislators, after which they will meet the Governor.