Srinagar: Minister of State (MoS) for Irrigation and Flood Control, Farooq Andrabi, who happens to be the maternal uncle of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, is likely to be removed from the council of ministers to make room for the chief minister’s brother, Tassaduq Hussain Mufti, sources in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) told Kashmir Raeder.
“With the induction of Tassaduq, the members of the Mufti family in the council of ministers will grow to three, including the chief minister and Andrabi. There is a strong thinking within the PDP that it will send a wrong message if three members of the same family work as ministers on the party’s quota,” the PDP sources said. “Hence, the consensus within the party is almost final: that Andrabi should be removed from his post. There will be then no space for pointing fingers at the leadership for nepotism.”
The opposition National Conference has already pointed fingers at the government’s move of nominating Tassaduq to the Legislative Council, to pave the way for his entry in the cabinet.
Tassaduq will be inducted as PDP’s Member of Legislative Council (MLC) within a few days, as his file is ready to be approved by the Governor.
In the council of ministers, the PDP had two vacant cabinet berths after it dropped Altaf Bukhari and Javed Mustafa Mir in the Mehbooba-led government. While Bukhari was taken back as education minister, the other slot is still vacant.
Party sources said that Tassaduq would be inducted in the cabinet before the Budget Session of the Assembly begins on January 2, 2018.
“After the Assembly session will start in Jammu, no changes can happen in the council of ministers,” the party insiders said.
They revealed that legislator from the Wachi constituency, Ajaz Mir, a close confidante of Mehbooba, is likely to replace Andrabi as MoS.
“The PDP’s home constituency is south Kashmir. But there is no presence of the Shopian region within the council of ministries. We have won seats from those areas,” insiders stated. “So, the name which is being discussed most in the party is Ajaz Mir. He will replace Andrabi. He is young and is a good bet to work as MoS.”