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PDP backs Mehbooba Mufti as CM but BJP bargains for 50:50 formula

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Srinagar:  The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) urged the governor to let Mehbooba Mufti, the daughter of late Mohammad Sayeed, to administer the Muslim-majority state.

However, PDP’s coalition partner BJP might reportedly bargain for a 50:50 formula for running the state.

A huge mass of mourners assembled at the first ‘Nimaz-e-Jinaza’ (funeral prayer) for Sayeed here and a second in his hometown Bijbehara where he was laid to rest.

Peoples Democratic Party leaders Muzaffar Hussain Beigh and Altaf Bukhari submitted a letter to Governor N.N. Vohra nominating Mehbooba Mufti as the leader of the PDP’s legislature party — which would entitle her to assume charge as the new chief minister.

A senior PDP leader said its coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party, backed Mehbooba Mufti’s elevation as chief minister.

Mehbooba Mufti, a Lok Sabha member, will have to get elected to the assembly or be nominated to the legislative council (upper house) within six months if she succeeds her late father as the chief minister. She will be the first woman chief minister of the country’s only Muslim-majority state.

However, BJP leader Avinash Rai Khanna, who is in charge of the party affairs in Jammu and Kashmir, said the chief ministerial issue has not been decided yet, and the party will take a call soon.

“There has been no discussion over the issue of the chief ministerial candidate yet. When the matter comes up, the party will take a call”,  Khanna told media.

“It is for the PDP to decide who will be its legislature party leader”, he said when asked about the PDP nominating Mehbooba Mufti as its leader in the state legislature.

Another top BJP functionary said that the party will push for the formula of 50:50 for the remainder of the chief ministerial term, meaning for half of the rest of the term the PDP would head the government and the BJP for the other half.

“Mufti saheb had proposed earlier too to consider Mehbooba as the chief minister when we were in talks for the formation of the government earlier, but we were not ready”, he said.

“We had clearly said that if he himself opts for the top post, the BJP has no problem but if Mehbooba would be projected, the BJP would go for 50:50 formula”, the BJP functionary said on condition of anonymity.

In the last assembly elections, the Peoples Democratic Party won 28 seats and the BJP 25. The opposition National Conference got 15 and the Congress 12.

Sayeed died in New Delhi on Thursday, 14 days after he was hospitalised.

He passed away at 9:10 AM at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, three days after he was put on a ventilator. “A severely diabetic, he died due to bone marrow dysfunction”, a spokesman of the AIIMS told media. He was admitted to the AIIMS on December 24 with fever as well as a chest infection.

Amid seven-day state mourning, his body was flown to Srinagar.

Sayeed, who survived several attacks on him by militants, was the chief minister for the first time in 2002-05 in a coalition government with the Congress. In March last year, he allied with the BJP to become the chief minister again.

President Pranab Mukherjee lauded his contribution to Jammu and Kashmir and to India through long years of public service.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Sayeed’s exemplary leadership had a major impact on people’s lives crediting him with ‘statesmanship’. Mufti Sahab provided a healing touch to Jammu and Kashmir.”

Sayeed was the third chief minister of the state to die in office — after G.M. Sadiq (1971) and Sheikh Abdullah (1982).

Born in Bijbehara on January 12, 1936, to a family of ‘Peers’, Sayeed studied in Srinagar and at the Aligarh Muslim University before he joined politics in 1959.

After taking on the iconic Sheikh Abdullah, Sayeed became a cabinet minister in Jammu and Kashmir in 1972. Just three years later, he became head of the state unit of the Congress party.

He joined Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s government in 1986 but quit the following year to throw his lot with V.P. Singh, who revolted against Gandhi’s leadership and went on to become the prime minister in 1989.

Sayeed became the home minister in the V.P. Singh government.

Within days, militants abducted his third daughter, Rubaiya Sayeed, in Srinagar, forcing the VP Singh government to free five jailed guerrillas from Jammu and Kashmir.

In 1999, after a brief stint again in the Congress when P.V. Narasimha Rao became its leader, Sayeed and his daughter Mehbooba floated the PDP.(IANS)(Picture Courtesy:hindustantimes.com)

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Modi is anti-Dalit, will defeat BJP in 2019: Rahul Gandhi

Gandhi also accused the government of suppressing and intimidating the media

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Rahul Gandhi becomes president of Congress as mother Sonia Gandhi steps down
Rahul Gandhi steps in as President of Congress, Wikipedia

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government of being anti-Dalit and said his party will defeat the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Gandhi, who led his party’s day-long fast at Rajghat to highlight atrocities against Dalits and other communities, said party workers were protesting against an ideology, a way of thinking.

Rahul Gandhi becomes the president of Congress as mother Sonia Gandhi Steps Down
Rahul Gandhi is against Modi and his rule.

“The atmosphere that has been created in the country, it is due to the ideology of the BJP. BJP’s ideology is to divide the country, crush the Dalits, tribals, minorities. We are against the ideology of the BJP. We are standing against it today, we will stand against it throughout our lives. And we will defeat them in the 2019 elections,” Gandhi told reporters.

Asked about BJP Dalit MPs writing to Modi with their complaints, Gandhi said: “You talk to them in Parliament. They also tell us that Modiji is a casteist person, an anti-Dalit person. He has no place for Dalits in his heart, the whole country knows this. It is not a secret.”

Also Read: A voice of his own: Rahul Gandhi tries to impress Lok Sabha with his speech

Gandhi attacked BJP President Amit Shah for likening the coming together of opposition parties to “snakes, mongoose, dogs and cats” climbing a tree trunk to save themselves from floods. He said every person in the country was against the BJP.

“Some days back a BJP leader said that opposition members were animals. The truth is that today every person in the country is standing against the government. The approach that this government has against Dalits, tribals, minorities and farmers, we are standing against it,” he said. Gandhi said the country will not accept that Modi government “spreads violence, hatred in the country… We are standing here against this ideology.”

Raul Maino
Rahul Gandhi says Modi controls the Media. Twitter

Gandhi also accused the government of suppressing and intimidating the media. “You are standing on the other side but in actuality you are standing on our side as we are protecting you also. You are smiling, I know. We are fighting for you as well.” IANS