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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sajjad Lone under pressure to quit Cabinet, flies back home

PDP’s Veeri too turns down ‘inferior’ portfolio, stays away from Civil Secretariat

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

Jammu, Mar 4: Not satisfied with what his supporters dismiss as “inferior Ministry”, separatist-turned-mainstream politician Sajjad Gani Lone flew back to his Srinagar residence on an unscheduled visit without revealing his whereabouts and cause of absence from Civil Secretariat to Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and other State functionaries on day one of the PDP-BJP government’s business in the winter capital in the Indian-administered State of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday.

Lone incommunicado
Sources in the government disclosed that Lone asked his official driver, security and Police escort to return when they turned up to carry to the Civil Secretariat. His private vehicle drove him straight to the Jammu airport to catch an early morning flight for Srinagar. Travelling as an ordinary civilian passenger, Lone was received by his private staff on arrival in Srinagar and driven to his Rawalpora home where he remained closeted with some friends and colleagues. His cellphone was switched off and he was incommunicado for almost everybody who attempted to call him up or visited his residence for a meeting.

Lone did not even speak to the journalists and camera crews of different television news channels waiting for him for hours. First reported by Authint Mail previous night, Lone was disappointed over the way Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed had assigned to him an “insignificant portfolio” when work was distributed in the 25-member Council of Ministers on Tuesday. He had been allotted the Ministry of Animal Husbandry and Science & Technology.
Until his induction in the BJP quota in Mufti’s Cabinet on last Sunday, Lone was reportedly a contender for the high profile Finance portfolio. Later, he expected to get Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution.

A number of separatists---notably Firdaus Baba, Usman Majid, Abdul Gani Naseem, Bilal Lodhi, Engineer Rashid, Kukka Parray and Javed Shah---have joined the political mainstream and become members of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council since 1996. However, Lone has the distinction of becoming the first Minister. Usman, now Congress MLA from Bandipore, has served as Minister of State for Planning during Mufti’s previous stint as Chief Minister in 2002-05.
After his father and the Peoples Conference founder Abdul Gani Lone’s assassination in a terror strike in 2002, Lone shifted loyalty to the Indian side and allegedly fielded proxy candidates who all lost to different political parties in the Assembly elections that year. In the 2008 Assembly elections too, Lone did not contest in person though his sister Shabnam Lone, an advocate at Supreme Court of India, contested and lost to the National Conference candidate Mir Saifullah in Kupwara segment.

The PC rebel Engineer Rashid contested and he was returned twice in Langet segment of Kupwara---in 2008 and 2014. Lone contested his first election---for the Indian Parliament---from the North Kashmir constituency in 2009 but was defeated by the NC candidate Sharief-ud-din Shariq. He also contested the Parliamentary election of 2014 from the same constituency but was defeated by senior PDP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig, PC’s co-founder and deputy to Lone’s father Abdul Gani Lone in 1978. In the 2014 elections, Lone got his first victory in his maiden election for Assembly. One among his candidates, Bashir Ahmad Dar was returned from Kupwara.
Lone and Dar, the two PC MLAs, are associates of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s federal ruling party BJP. Lone’s meeting with Modi stirred a major controversy as many of the separatists called him a “traitor” even as he and his colleague in Kupwara got massive vote against the NC and PDP candidates. His brother Bilal continues to be a senior leader in the Mirwaiz faction of the separatist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference. His wife Asma is the Pakistan-based JKLF founder Amanullah Khan’s daughter.

Lone was not accessible to media for comment but sources close to him told Authint Mail that “some well-wishers” had taken up the matter of his “inferior portfolio” with the BJP high command in New Delhi. “He will definitely quit if he is not obliged with a suitable Ministry. Like his father, he is sentimental and a man of self-respect and not used to tolerate humiliation. Besides, he is under tremendous pressure from his followers to quit and operate only as an Opposition leader”, one of Lone’s key coll asserted.
The PDP leaders maintained that it was “purely a matter between the PC and the BJP”. “Mufti Sahab has allocated only the PDP quota’s portfolios. BJP has itself decided who should get what”, said a PDP leader and Cabinet Minister.

PDP’s Minister Veeri too ‘upset’
Meanwhile, senior PDP leader and four-time MLA from Bijbehara Abdul Rehman Veeri too was conspicuously absent from his office on the first day of his term as a Cabinet Minister. His phone was continuously “not reachable” or switched off. According to informed sources, Veeri has refused to accept the “inferior” portfolio of Horticulture and Haj & Auqaf, while pointing out allocation of multiple superior portfolios to a number of his junior party colleagues and first time MLAs.

Sources said that Mufti had initially decided to assign the “important” portfolio of Rural Development Department to Veeri “after Imran Ansari refused to take it” but at the eleventh hour it went to PDP’s Lolab MLA Abdul Haq Khan. Sajjad Lone is said to have called this change “intriguing”, viewing it as Mufti’s attempt to undermine his influence in Kupwara district.

I humbly and respectfully beg to differ with our eminent political scientist and teacher Prof. Rekha Chowdhary​ , as quoted in New York Times, that by coming together in government formation PDP and BJP have "moved away from their stated positions on contentious issues" and it could "open up new vistas for political resolution" of Kashmir. For an ordinary student of the J&K politics, it appears to me that the alliance is nothing but a confluence of compulsions and ego to rule Kashmir, without any moral standing, given the history, ideology and posturing of the two parties particularly during the days of seeking vote against each other in Kashmir and Jammu regions. Contrary to the high expectations raised by Modi-led BJP in India, this alliance has all the trappings of an extension of the POSTURE POLITICS blindly adopted and promoted by the Indian political parties, particularly Congress, on the counselling of the country's intelligence-strategy apparatus that has had the last word on Kashmir in the past many decades and regimes. We have seen how CM Mufti Sayeed generalised the support provided to his party by one particular pro-Pakistan outfit in 6 assembly segments of South Kashmir and how he went out of way to acknowledge it with a profound sense of indebtedness to Pakistan, Hurriyat and militants minutes after he assumed office. This doesn't happen without LICENSE from the highest seat of power. My apprehension is that the BJP, which has its votebank on regional and communal lines in Jammu and rest of India and which has already "dissociated" from Mufti's remarks, would soon start raking up contentious issues like abrogation of 370 to keep its constituency intact and ward off the potential electoral reverses in other States. We have seen their faces in 2008 and we will see the WORST the day this alliance will break. There can be no breakthrough until both, PDP as well as BJP, will publicly, without equivocation and being slaves to their clichés of the past, RENOUNCE THE POLITICS OF REGIONALISM AND COMMUNALISM and erase from their faces the taint of having all of their MLAs/MPs from only one region/religion. Marriage of conveniences, compulsions and mundane expediencies can never lead to sustainable integration. Let them stop playing to the galleries on either side of Pir Panjal, LOC and IB. Let them stop dying for the Hurriyat and its remote control holders USS PAAR. Let them stop glorification of rebellion that has only served the purpose of vested interest in this State and country. Let them start contesting dissent and rebellion politically and democratically rather than militarily and that clichéd rhetoric of "engagement in dialogue". Let them instead start giving respect and confidence (alongside development and job opportunities) to the common Kashmiris by holding transparent inquiries into the State and non-State atrocities and punishing the guilty like killers of innocent civilians in fake encounter of Pathribal. This will automatically render AFSPA irrelevant. Let them stop shedding crocodile tears and giving a fresh lease of life and sanctity to the gun culture. Let them deliver on governance and development in which they are arguably far better performers than NC and Congress. But this needs a big heart. 56-inch chest girth and 79 years of age alone won't be enough.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sajjad Lone cut to size by Mufti with insignificant Ministry; Imran too ‘upset’

·         PDP gets Home, Planning, Tourism, Finance, Education, Agriculture, Horticulture, Rural Development, Law, CAPD

·         BJP gets Power, Housing & Urban Development, Health & Medical Education, Social Welfare, Forest, PHE


Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


JAMMU---Cut to size with allocation of the most inferior portfolio of  Science & Technology and Animal Husbandry, Peoples Conference chairman and BJP’s ally in Kashmir, Sajjad Gani Lone is understood to be “under tremendous pressure” from his supporters to quit Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s Cabinet even as the lone representative of Shia community Imran Raza Ansari is also reportedly upset over an ‘inferior’ portfolio given to him. It was after three days of impasse and hectic political activity that Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed resolved the crisis on distribution of portfolios between the Ministers of his Peoples Democratic Party and the coalition partner Bhartiya Janata Party on Tuesday.

Informed sources revealed to Authint Mail that Sajjad’s followers mounted considerable pressure on the PC Chairman, asking him not to tolerate the “humiliation” meted out to him. “He should quit as the Ministry given to him is an insult not only to the people of Kupwara but also to Prime Minister Modi. We know that we would not get a fair deal”, said a senior PC leader who revealed that Sajjad was in a meeting with his party colleagues over the issue till late on Tuesday night. He could not be reached for his reaction to reports that he was “disappointed” with the portfolio allocation. “He has not come by parachute from the sky. Those who came have been showered with bunch of key portfolios” said an advocate owing allegiance to PC.

Sources said that even the Shia leader and son of veteran cleric-politician Maulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari was tightlipped over the three “inferior” portfolios---Information Technology, Technical Education, Youth Services & Sports---assigned to him. His supporters pointed out that the PDP had won five segments in the valley because of Ansari’s appeal.

“Distribution of portfolios is prerogative of only the Chief Minister. BJP side has been duly taken on board before General Administration Department issued the order”, said a senior PDP leader and Minister in Mufti’s Cabinet. He argued that the first time legislators could not claim much as they could be “upgraded” in future on the basis of their performance. He refused to accept that the portfolios given to the two reportedly disappointed Ministers were “inferior” by any evaluation.

Mufti himself retained Home, Planning and Tourism besides over a dozen other portfolios. He assigned the important portfolios of Finance, Revenue, Agriculture, Horticulture, Public Works, Rural Development, Education and Law to his PDP colleagues.

PDP’s Abdul Rehman Veeri got Horticulture and Haj & Auqaf, Javaid Mustafa Mir Revenue, Abdul Haq Khan Rural Development, Syed Basharat Ahmed Bukhari Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs and Relief and Rehabilitation,  Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution and Tribal Affairs, Haseeb DrabuFinance, Labour & Employment and Culture, Ghulam Nabi Lone Agriculture Production, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari Public Works, Floriculture and Parks, Imran Raza Ansari Information Technology, Technical Education and Youth Services and Sports and Naeem Akhter Education.

Among the PDP’s Ministers of State, Abdul Majid Padder got Public Health Engineering, Irrigation & Flood Control, Animal Husbandry and Forest, Mohammad Ashraf Mir Industries and Commerce, Power Development and Housing& Urban Development and Asiea Naqash Health, Social Welfare and Transport.

From the BJP side, Power Development and Housing & Urban Development departments were assigned to Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh. Chander Parkash got Industries and Commerce, Lal Singh Health & Medical Education and ARI & Trainings, Bali Bhagat Social Welfare, Forest, Ecology and Environment, Sukhnandan Kumar Public Health Engineering while as the BJP’s associate Sajad Gani Lone was given Science & Technology and Animal Husbandry.

Among the BJP’s Ministers of State, Chering Dorjay got Ladakh Affairs besides independent charge of Cooperative. Abdul Gani Kohli got Transport Rural Development and Horticulture and independent charge of Transport. Sunil Kumar Sharma was appointed MoS of Public Works (R&B) and Revenue, Priya Sethi MoS Information, Education and Culture and BJP’s associate Pawan Kumar Gupta as MoS of Finance and Information Technology.



DB stays acquittal, orders Gulzar Peer’s arrest

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


Jammu, March 3: A Division Bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday stayed criminal acquittal of Gulzar Ahmad Bhat alias Gulzar Peer, ordered his arrest and allowed the State to file an appeal against the judgment of Sessions Court Budgam.

The DB comprising Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar, while hearing a petition seeking leave to file appeal against the Budgam district court order, observed that the prime accused Gulzar Ahmad Bhat’s presence in the society should not endanger its legal, moral and social fabric. It said that the statements of the victim witnesses made out an “extraordinary case” for staying the acquittal and ordering the judicial custody of the accused. Bhat, who has been already detained by Police, was remanded to judicial custody till further orders.

On the petition filed by Police and pursued by Deputy Advocate General N.H. Shah, the DB observed: “In the normal course in Acquittal Appeal, Court does not pass interim order either for staying of the impugned judgment and for directing the arrest of the accused. However, after perusal of the statements of the prosecution witnesses, more particularly of those girls (minors) who have been subjected to sexual assault, a very strong case is made out for issuance of interim direction”.

The DB further observed: “The girls who have been subjected to sexual assault have given graphic details in the manner they were trapped and subjected to sexual assault. The law and justice both would require to ensure that accused does not give slip to law and his presence in the society may not endanger its legal, moral and social fabric”.

 “In the interest of justice, we at this stage direct that, till further orders from the Court, the impugned judgment dated 12th February, 2015, passed by learned Sessions Judge, Budgam, in File No: 142/S in case FIR No: 40/2013 u/s 376, 109 RPC, registered at Police Station Khansahab, shall stay to the extent of respondent No: 1 (Gulzar Ahmad Bhat). The respondent No: 1 shall be taken into custody by the concerned Police authorities and lodged in judicial custody”.

Advocate Shabir Ahmad Dar, who argued the case on behalf of the accused, received notices for six accused persons including Bhat.

Bhat, claiming to be a “spiritual healer”, is alleged to have sexually exploited a number of girls, including some minors. He had been arrested by Police in the wake of a public outcry over the accusations levelled against him by the victims. However, on February 12 this year, District and Sessions Court Budgam acquitted Bhat with the observation that the prosecution had failed to establish charges against the accused.

In a few days nonetheless Bhat was again taken into custody when his release threatened to cause a major law and order situation.

After 3 days of tug-of-war, PDP and BJP have resolved impasse on distribution of portfolios in Jammu and Kashmir. Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has accordingly allocated the portfolios to the ministers as under:

1. Abdul Rehman Veeri: Horticulture and Haj & Auqaf.

2. Javaid Mustafa Mir: Revenue Department.

3. Abdul Haq Khan: Rural Development

4. Syed Basharat Ahmed Bukhari: Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs and        Relief and Rehabilitation.

5. Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali: Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution and Tribal Affairs.

6. Haseeb A. Drabu: Finance, Labour & Employment and Culture.

7. Ghulam Nabi Lone: Agriculture Production.

8. Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari: Public Works, Floriculture and Parks.

9. Imran Raza Ansari: Information Technology, Technical Education and     Youth Services and Sports.

10. Naeem Akhter: Education.


1. Abdul Majid Padder: Public Health Engineering, Irrigation & Flood Control, Animal Husbandry and Forest.
2. Mohammad Ashraf Mir: Industries and Commerce, Power Development and Housing& Urban Development Departments.

3. Asiya Naqash: Health, Social Welfare and Transport Departments.


1. Dr. Nirmal Singh: (Deputy Chief Minister): Power Development and Housing & Urban Development Department.
2. Chander Parkas: Industries and Commerce.

3. Lal Singh: Health & Medical Education and ARI & Trainings.
4. Bali Bhagat: Social Welfare, Forest, Ecology and Environment.

5. Sukhnandan Kumar: Public Health Engineering.
6. Sajad Gani Lone: Science & Technology and Animal Husbandry.

1. Chering Dorjay: Cooperative (Independent Charge) and Ladakh Affairs.

2. Sunil Kumar Sharma: Public Works (R&B) and Revenue.
3. Abdul Ghani Kohli: Transport (Independent Charge), Rural Development and Horticulture.

4. Priya Sethi: Information, Education and Culture.

5. Pawan Kumar Gupta: Finance and Information Technology.


Monday, March 2, 2015

With Mufti as CM, BJP finally rules Jammu & Kashmir

·        25-member Council of Ministers sworn in but little jubilation in the State


·        NC, Congress boycott coronation; Advani, Joshi, Amit Shah attend


By Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

March 1, 2015

Jammu--- Ending 49-day-long Governor’s Rule, Peoples Democratic Party’s 79-year-old founder-patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was on Sunday installed as Chief Minister for his second term and head of the ideologically incompatible PDP-BJP coalition government in the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir State. Mufti, alongwith his entire Council of Ministers---comprising 16 Cabinet Ministers and 8 Ministers of State---was sworn in by Governor Narendra Nath Vohra at General Zorawar Auditorium of the University of Jammu.

Trading hugs and pleasantries with each other, leaders of the two political parties took oath of office and secrecy and pledge of upholding the sovereignty and integrity of India in a sombre ambience as if either of them was becoming slave of compulsion and compromising what the two had promised conversely in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir region and the Hindu-dominated Jammu province.

Inside, the usual smiles and laughter were absent. Outside, there was little evidence of festivity and jubilation that usually marks such occasions.

Notwithstanding a few firecrackers in certain areas---total of three at PDP’s Jammu headquarters---there were few celebrations in some segments in Jammu. Reports from the Valley mentioned of a few firecrackers in Handwara, the area which returned separatist-turned-mainstream politician Sajjad Gani Lone who took oath as a Cabinet Minister and pledged to protect India’s sovereignty and integrity. In at least one village in Handwar, PC’s and NC’s workers clashes. Officials said four persons were injured.

In addition to a few firecrackers at Barzalla and Chhanpora in Srinagar, reports said that PDP’s supporters celebrated the government formation in Kupwara and Lolab segments in northern Kashmir.

Leaders of the coalition pleaded that rain played a spoilsport.


The PDP legislators inducted as Ministers of Cabinet include Abdul Rehman Bhat Veeri, Javed Mustafa Mir, Abdul Haq Khan, Syed Basharat Bukhari, Choudhary Zulfikar Ali, Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura, MLC Naeem Akhtar, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari besides the first time MLAs Haseeb Drabu and Imran Raza Ansari. BJP’s Cabinet Ministers include Prof Nirmal Singh, who was later designated as “Deputy Chief Minister”, Chander Prakash, Choudhary Lal Singh, Bali Bhagat and Sukhnandan Kumar. BJP’s associate member and Chairman of Peoples Conference, Sajjad Gani Lone, was also inducted as a Cabinet Minister.

In the lower rung of the Council, eight leaders of the two parties were sworn in as Ministers of State. They include PDP’s Abdul Majid Paddar, Mohammad Ashraf Mir and Asea Naqash besides BJP’s newly elected MLC from Leh Chering Dorje, BJP’s only Muslim MLA Abdul Gani Kohli, MLA Sunil Kumar Sharma, BJP’s rebel Pawan Gupta, who defeated the party’s official candidate in Udhampur but later sided with the same fold, and a woman activist Priya Seth who was later today nominated as MLA.

With this composition, PDP got the lion’s share of 10 Cabinet Ministers and three Ministers of State besides the topmost position of Chief Minister. Its coalition partner BJP got just 5 Cabinet berths besides one for associate PC. It also got 4 junior Ministerial berths besides one for its associate Pawan Gupta.

“Yes, we have got less number of Ministers and perhaps inferior portfolios and PDP is far better placed. But, we are the real achievers as far as our political agenda and the issues are concerned. There’s no compromise on that. Isn’t it historic that BJP is for the first time ruling J&K directly?”, said a senior BJP leader, wishing to be anonymous.

While most of the BJP Ministers took oath in Hindi---only Lal Singh preferred his mother tongue Dogri----in the name of ‘Eshwar’ (god), PDP’s Muslim Ministers did it in Urdu and English in the name of ‘Khuda’. However, Javed Mir, Sajjad Lone, Altaf Bukhari and Imran Ansari took oath in the name of ‘Allah’, the pure Islamic nomenclature for Almighty. Lal Singh ended his oath with ‘Jai Hind’ and Sunil Sharma with ‘Jai Bharat’. An elated Bali Bhagat shouted the slogan ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. Mufti Sayeed, Nirmal Singh, Lal Singh, Sajjad Lone, Ghulam Nabi Lone and Imran Ansari embraced Prime Minister Modi even as all others, except the two women, embraced Mufti and Nirmal Singh.

RSS background

Almost all the BJP’s Ministers, with a couple of exceptions, are from the hardcore right wing RSS background. Sunil Sharma, who rose to prominence with the communal riots of August 2013 in Kishtwar, has also worked as a counterinsurgent with Army, according to media reports.

NC, Congress absent

Even as the J&K Pradesh Congress Committee chief Saifuddin Soz attended the ceremony, in a significant development none of the National Conference or Congress MLAs, MLCs or senior leaders turned up at the venue. Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad as well as NC’s acting president and MLA Omar Abdullah---both former Chief Ministers---chose to stay away from Mufti’s oath-taking. Omar arrived in Jammu in the forenoon and spent the day with his party legislators and leaders, devising strategy for Monday’s Legislative Council elections.

Two women nominated as MLAs

On Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed’s recommendation, Governor Vohra nominated PDP’s Anjum Fazili and BJP’s Priya Sethi as MLAs. On Monday, they would both cast their vote for the coalition candidates, raising the number of PDP-BJP alliance and associate members to 59 in the 89-member Assembly. The NC-Congress alliance candidate Sajjad Kichloo is sure to win on one of the four seats in Jammu while as NC’s Qaisar Jamsheed Lone (with 30 votes of the opposition alliance) and PDP’s Saifuddin Bhat could bag one seat each in Kashmir. However, both the seats in Kashmir could go to PDP in case two independent MLAs, namely Engineer Rashid and Hakeem Yasin, abstain or vote for the ruling coalition candidate which appears to be unlikely for the moment.

‘Agenda for Alliance’ released

After the 60-minute oath-taking event, Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed and Deputy CM Nirmal Singh, alongwith Haseeb Drabu, addressed a joint press conference. The coalition’s ‘common minimum programme’ titled ‘Agenda for Alliance’ was released at the crowded news conference.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Mufti being sworn in as Chief Minister alongwith 24 Ministers today

·        PDP gets lion’s share of CM, 14 Ministers, Chairman LC

·        Modi, Advani, Joshi, Azad, Omar attending oath-taking at Jammu varsity

·        Sajjad in but Naeem unlikely to take oath due to influenza


By Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

March 1, 2015


Jammu: Peoples Democratic Party founder-patron, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who in the past has functioned as the State Chief Minister and Union Home Minister, would be sworn in as the twelfth Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and head of the PDP-BJP coalition government here on Sunday by Governor Narendra Nath Vohra even as the Peoples Conference chairman Sajjad Gani Lone has staged his comeback and PDP’s MLC Naeem Akhtar was unlikely to take the oath due to illness.

Highly placed official and political sources told this correspondent that arrangements had been put in place for oath-taking of the entire 25-member Council of Ministers at General Zorawar Stadium of the University of Jammu. Only one of them, namely Naeem Akhtar Andrabi, PDP’s chief spokesperson and MLC, was unlikely to take oath on Sunday as he had contracted influenza and doctors had advised him complete bed rest and medication.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior BJP leader and former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi besides senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Parliament Ghulam Nabi Azad, Haryana Chief Minister M.L. Khattar and the National Conference acting president and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah would be present on the occasion. Officials did not confirm media reports about the participation of the Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj, J.P. Nadda and Smriti Irani, Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and the BJP President Amit Shah.


In the wake of intense lobbying and hectic political developments, PDP on Saturday managed to lay hands on 14 Ministerial berths in addition to the top posts of Chief Minister and Chairman Legislative Council. As exclusively reported by Authint Mail earlier this week, Mufti’s brother-in-law and former MLA of Devsar, Mohammad Sartaj Madni, who in the November 2014 Assembly elections lost to Congress candidate Amin Bhat, is tipped to be nominated one among the eight MLCs and subsequently elected as Chairman of Legislative Council. PDP and BJP will get four each of the nominated MLCs.


Informed sources identified the 10 PDP legislators, who would be all sworn in as Cabinet Ministers, as MLA Chrar-e-Sharief and former Chairman of Legislative Council Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura, MLA Bijbehara and former Minister of State Abdul Rehman Veeri, MLA Chadoura and former MoS Javed Mustafa Mir, MLA Lolab Abdul Haq Khan, MLA Sangrama Syed Basharat Bukhari, MLA Darhal Choudhary Zulfikar besides the first time MLAs Haseeb Drabu (Rajpora), Syed Altaf Bukhari (Amirakadal) and Imran Raza Ansari (Pattan).

MLA Sonwar Mohammad Ashraf Mir, MLA Hazratbal Asea Naqash, MLA Noorabad Abdul Majid Paddar and MLA Zanskar (PDP’s associate member) Syed Mohammad Bakir Rizvi would be inducted as Ministers of State.


Sources associated with the government formation disclosed to Authint Mail that PC’s Chairman and MLA of Handwara Sajjad Lone staged his comeback a day after it was communicated to him “regretfully” by a senior BJP leader from New Delhi that he could not be inducted in Mufti’s Council of Ministers. According to these sources, an upset Lone established contact with the “senior most level” in the BJP and expressed resentment over the way he had been “ditched and humiliated under pressure of my political detractors”.

Hours after his early morning telephonic conversation with New Delhi, BJP high command decided that a party of two “valued MLAs”, which had a pre-poll arrangement with the BJP, could not be sacrificed for the pleasure of a party of the post-poll relationship with the BJP. After a clear-cut reassurance to him, Sajjad Lone left his Srinagar home for Jammu by car at 7.00 p.m.


Sources said that BJP would now get a total of 9 Ministers, including associate Sajjad Lone, and all of them would be inducted into the Cabinet. Till late on Saturday, in the BJP camp there was a tie for the Speaker’s post between MLA Raipur-Domana Bali Bhagat and MLA Basohli Choudhary Lal Singh, with either of them insisting to get Cabinet berth.

While Dr Nirmal Singh would be inducted as Deputy Chief Minister, one among Lal Singh and Bali Bhagat would be inducted as Cabinet Minister and another as Speaker. Others being sworn in as the Cabinet Ministers include MLA Gandhi Nagar Kavinder Gupta, MLA Suchetgarh Choudhary Sham Lal and MLA Kishtwar Sunil Kumar Sharma. Name of the BJP’s only Muslim MLA Abdul Gani Kohli and a former rebel, Pawan Gupta, who contested as an Independent candidate and defeated BJP’s official candidate in Udhampur in the recent Assembly elections, were also considered and probably finalised for the Cabinet.


After considering half-a-dozen aspirants, PDP and BJP have finally decided to recommend the names of Ms. S. Fazili alias Mezi and Priya Seth for nomination as MLAs to the Raj Bhawan immediately after the oath-taking on Sunday. Sources said that on Chief Minister’s recommendation, Governor would declare the two women as nominated MLAs. Thereafter, both of them could vote in the March 2nd election on four vacant seats of Legislative Council in Jammu division and two vacant seats in Kashmir division.