With Mufti Mohammad Sayeed no more, his daughter and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti is the most likely candidate to succeed him as the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
“As far we are concerned, we want that Mehbooba, 56, succeed Mufti Sahib,” said senior PDP leader and MP Muzaffar Hussain Baig, voicing the mood in PDP.
However, Mehbooba’s ascent will have to receive the tacit approval of the state government’s coalition partner—BJP. Although none from the BJP has protested Mufti’s elevation, the party leadership will take a final decision soon. However, the BJP will have to make up its mind soon in view of the Budget session slated to begin on January 18.
It may be noted Mufti Mohammad had on 13 November hinted at Mehbooba donning the CM mantle in the future. He had said Mehbooba was better connected with the people and so deserves the position.
Mehbooba, who worked to consolidate the PDP base in the Kashmir Valley, has also been visiting militancy-hit families. She tasted success as an MLA on a Congress ticket from her Bijbehara. She played a key role in her father’s victory as Congress candidate in 1998 general elections.
In 1999, they floated people’s Democratic Party (PDP) along with some loyal associates. In the 2002 Assembly elections, PDP bagged 16 seats and Mufti Sayeed became the CM for the first time with Congress and independent MLAs support.
In 2004, she contested and won as an MP from south Kashmir. In 2008, she returned as MLA from Wachi segment when PDP bagged 21 seats but lost to the NC-Congress alliance. Later in November-December Assembly polls, PDP got 28 seats and in March 2015 it formed its second government with BJP as an alliance partner. Last general elections saw her being elected as an MP.