Mehbooba will take oath of office as CM after four days of mourning

BJP is likely to submit a formal letter pledging support to Mehbooba

GN Bureau | January 8, 2016



Contrary to expectations throughout Friday, Mehbooba Mufti is not ready to take oath as chief minister of Jammum and Kashmir before the four-day mourning for her father is over. This means the state is be headed for a few days of governor’s rule as per the state constitution.

“Mehboobaji is not ready and oath-taking will happen only after chahrum (the fourth day ceremony) is over,” said PDP’s senior leader Muzaffar Hussain Beigh.

The state’s chief minister and Mehbooba’s father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, died at AIIMS in Delhi on Thursday leaving the state technically without a government.

Beigh, who is also senior lawyer and a constitutional expert, added that there will be no constitutional crises due to the vacuum. “There will be a few days of governor’s rule but he will be a caretaker till another chief minister takes oath,” said Beigh.

Beigh also stressed that the party does not want to put pressure on Mehbooba. “She is a mother, a daughter, a sister…the tragedy is huge and she is everybody’s source of strength. It will be unfair to force her to do something,” he said.

Though the BJP is yet to submit written support for Mehbooba, Beigh said the ally had no problem with the transition. “My old BJP friends tell me that the party has no problem with Mehboobaji as CM,’’ he added.

Meanwhile, the BJP is likely to submit a formal letter pledging support to Mehbooba. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav – instrumental in stitching up the alliance between the ideologically-divergent BJP and PDP after the assembly elections – is also arriving in Srinagar this afternoon.

Sayeed is the third J&K chief minister to die in office. Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq died in a Chandigarh hospital on December 12, 1971, the transfer of power took place the same day and Mir Qasim succeeded him. National Conference founder Sheikh Abdullah was succeeded by son Farooq Abdullah.

But the delay in the announcement of the successor to Mufti is unprecedented.

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