Mehbooba is PDP's Chief Ministerial nominee
Legislature Party meeting avoids reference to 'CBMs', timeframe for implementation of Agenda of Alliance
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, March 24: In a dramatic volte face from its eleven-week-long stand on extension of the coalition with BJP, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday not only decided to form government with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party but also elected its President Mehbooba Mufti as the Legislature Party leader and the Chief Ministerial nominee in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to the political sources privy to the developments, PDP's Legislature Party, which met at Ms Mufti’s Gupkar Road residence late in the afternoon, took just a few minutes to unanimously elect her as the Chief Ministerial nominee. While as the party's ebullient leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig conducted the proceedings, another senior leader Tariq Hameed Karra, who had issued dozens of statements against continuation of the alliance with PDP, came out with unqualified support to the proposal of forming the government with BJP. He and all other participants favoured Ms Mufti as the Chief Minister.
Mehbooba’s name was proposed by MLA Bijbehara and former Horticulture Minister Abdul Rehman Veeri. It was seconded by MLA Amirakadal and former Minister of Works Altaf Bukhari.
All the 27 PDP MLAs, associate member and MLA Zanskar Syed Bakar Rizvi, Lok Sabha members Muzaffar Hussain Baig and Tariq Hameed Karra, Rajya Sabha members Nazir Ahmad Laway and Fayaz Ahmad Mir, Chairman Legislative Council Haji Anayat Ali, besides all the PDP MLCs attended the meeting which was presided over by Mehbooba Mufti.
Senior PDP leader and former Education Minister Naeem Akhtar said: “Following the nomination of Mehbooba Mufti as the PDP Legislature Party leader and the chief ministerial candidate, further constitutional requirement and the process for the government formation would be taken to the logical conclusion in consultation and coordination with the coalition partner BJP".
Akhtar said Ms Mufti thanked the party leaders and legislators and urged them to rededicate themselves to accomplish the mission and vision of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. She also reiterated her resolve to work towards implementation of the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ formulated with BJP. He said that Ms Mufti has been invited by Governor N.N. Vohra for a meeting at Raj Bhawan on Friday.
Sources present in the meeting told STATE TIMES that Ms Mufti assured the participants that formation of the government with BJP would be in the interest of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. She even made it clear that her Ministers would be accountable to the party cadres and the people in general and they would have to cease to be the "constituency leaders". She made it clear that there would be no room in her Council of Ministers for the non-performers.
Sources said that Ms Mufti did not explain as to what specific assurances she had obtained from BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for implementation of the commitments made to the PDP in last year's Agenda of Alliance. Nobody in fact asked her what made her change over two-month-long stand as she had firmly ruled out formation of the government with BJP in absence of Kashmir-specific CBMs and a timeframe for implementation of different items figuring in the Agenda of Alliance.
[ Published in today’s STATE TIMES ]