No Mehbooba? BJP Says Mufti Will Remain CM
JK CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed with daughter Mehbooba
SRINGAR: A senior BJP leader and member of Rajya Sabha, Avinash Rai Khanna, Saturday ruled out the change of guard in the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir.
Khanna, who is the BJP's chief whip in Rajya Sabha, said there is no truth in "rumours" on the transition of power in the Peoples Democratic Party from father and J&K chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, to his daughter and PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti.
“There is no truth in the rumours that change of guard is on cards in Jammu and Kashmir. The coalition government is running smoothly. No such meeting or communication has taken place between Mufti and the BJP high command,” Khanna said.
The remarks came a day after Mufti Mohammad Sayeed hinted at handing over power to Mehbooba Mufti amid rumours over his failing health. Talking to reporters in Jammu on Saturday, Mufti said Mehbooba is "mature" enough to take over the reins of the state.
“She is president of PDP, works hard in the field, represents a constituency in Lok Sabha, became Member of state assembly first time in 1996, so she deserves all this,” he said.
Khanna, however, said the coalition government has no plan to change the chief minister, "Mufti is also not handing over the baton to his daughter. As of now, the BJP high command too has no plans to change the guard in the state. The BJP-PDP coalition government will complete its full term of six years,” he said.
The chief minister, who has not been keeping well for some time now, was talking to reporters after the Durbar Move offices opened in the winter capital Jammu. Two senior PDP leaders - Muzaffar Hussain Beg and Tariq Hamid Karra, will stand in the way of Mehbooba's long walk to the CM's chair. Both Karra and Beg have openly spoken out against the party''s alliance with the BJP. Also, the PDP will have to convince the alliance partner too on the change of guard.
"It is a democratic process. My only focus has been development. I don't even get time to meet my workers. She (Mehbooba) has better access to them and understands their problems too, so she deserves it,” Mufti had replied to a question on speculations over Mehbooba's likely ascent to the chief minister's chair.
Prevaricating on the remarks made by Karra and Beg, Mufti had said everybody has right to express their views, "I’m not responsible for their personal comments. As far as Mehbooba’s anointment is concerned, it would be a collective decision (of the party),” he said.