PDP names Mehbooba CM candidate

Srinagar: The formality of anointing PDP president Mehbooba Mufti as the PDP Legislature Party leader to pave way for her to become the first woman chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir was completed on Thursday.
At the Mufti’s Fairview residence on Gupkar, the 27 PDP legislators and senior leaders including MP Muzaffar Hussain and Tariq Hamid Karra stood behind Mehbooba and elected her as the party’s CM candidate.
“I am thankful from the core of my heart to my party legislators for electing me as the Legislature Party leader. I congratulate you for standing behind me for the past three months in tough times,” she said.
She hailed the legislators “for not pressuring her” to forge the alliance with BJP, saying she drew her power from them.
“Mehbooba Mufti has no power, you are my taqat. My MLAs, my workers put me here. Though these months have been tough for us,” she said, drawing applause from the legislators.
PDP chief spokesman Naeem Akhtar said that legislator Abdul Rehman Veeri proposed Mehbooba’s name as the Legislature Party leader and chief ministerial nominee while another legislator, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, seconded it.
For the past two-and-a half months, Mehbooba had been reluctant to continue the alliance, which her father late chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed forged last year. She had been demanding CBMs from the BJP-led government at New Delhi for her to form the government.
Minutes after Mehbooba was announced as CM candidate, Baig corroborated BJP’s Kashmir minder Ram Madhav’s statement that PDP had not put forward any demands to the saffron party.
“It (meeting) is only a formality. The die has been cast and in the very near future a government will be in place,” Baig told reporters here.
He said both parties would meet governor NN Vohra, who has called them for a separate meeting on Friday, to stake claim for the government. Baig said Mehbooba and state BJP president will fix a date for oath taking ceremony.
Asked what PDP achieved by delaying government formation for three months, PDP chief spokesman Naeem Akhtar said he had ‘nothing to say’.
The delay had given rise to speculations that a faction within the PDP was willing to tie-up with the BJP, prompting Mehbooba to hasten to form the government.
However, Naeem dismissed the talk of a split within the party, saying, “Today’s meeting cleared it all.”
He said the PDP and BJP will together chalk out formalities for the government formation.
Ram Madhav, Jitendra Singh to meet BJP MLAs
BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav and Union Minister of State in PMO, Jitendra Singh will meet party legislators to review the current political situation in the state and elicit their (MLAs) opinion ahead of meeting Jammu and Kashmir Governor on Friday.
BJP high command has deputed Ram Madhav to reach Jammu along with Jitendra Singh to assess the current political situation and elicit the opinion of party legislators (over the government formation), BJP sources said on Thursday.
The crucial meeting will be held tomorrow in which all the BJP legislators and its top leadership will take part, the sources said.
Governor N N Vohra has written to PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and BJP State president Sat Sharma to meet him on Friday (to clarify their stand on government formation).
BJP delegation will be meeting Governor on Friday and will inform him about the party stand on the prevailing political situation in the state.
Last time BJP and PDP delegations had met the Governor separately on February 2 when the Governor had sought their stand on government formation.
BJP delegation again met Governor on March 2 while Mehbooba Mufti met Governor on March 4 over the political situation in the state.
Jammu and Kashmir was placed under Governor’s rule on January 8 after Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s death on January 7.
On March 22 Mehbooba had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at New Delhi.
After the 15-minute meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence, 56-year-old Mehbooba told reporters it was “very positive” and “good” in addressing issues pertaining to the people of the state and that she was “very satisfied.”