SRINAGAR: Speculation is rife in Jammu and Kashmir that the PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti, may take over the reins of the state from her father and Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who is critically ill at All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

Sources in the PDP said if the condition of the Chief Minister, who has not shown any signs of recovery over the last fortnight, doesn't improve before the commencement of the budget session from January 18, the PDP president may be sworn in as the state's first woman chief minister.

"It all depends on Mufti saheb's condition in coming few days. We are hopeful that he will recover and lead us in the budget session," the PDP leader, who didn't want to be named, said. Asked whether Mehbooba will take over, the leader replied: "There is no second opinion on that."

The transition of power from father to daughter has reportedly got the approval of the BJP, the PDP's coalition partner, with the newly elected state BJP president, Sat Sharma, stating that the party's core group will discuss the change of guard in the state.

“We have not received any proposal from PDP that Mehbooba will take over as Chief Minister of the State and neither have our coalition partners reached us to evolve a consensus on it,” Sharma told a local news gathering agency.

Sayeed was admitted to All India Institute of Medical Science on December 24 after he complained of uneasiness and chest pain. AIIMS doctors Tuesday said Sayeed had been put on respiratory support in the ICU and his condition is “critical but stable”.

The 79-year-old Chief Minister has developed chest infection for which he has been put on antibiotics and antifungals. AIIMS spokesperson Dr Amit Gupta said: “Sayeed is hemodynamically stable but requires respiratory support. His condition warrants close monitoring.”

In a recent press interaction in Jammu, Sayeed had hinted at Mehbooba succeeding him. “She is a grassroots leader and it has been due to her efforts that the PDP got a good number of seats and the party formed the government. She has better connect with the people and deserves to be chief minister,” he had said.

Mehbooba, who is Lok Sabha member from Anantnag, and the Chief Minister's personal staff are camping in the national capital since Sayeed was admitted with the J&K's education minister and government spokesman, Naeem Akhtar, visiting the ailing leader on Tuesday.

Over the last fortnight, a battery of politicians including the Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, J&K Governor, NN Vohra, former chief minister, Omar Abdullah and other senior leaders have visited AIIMS to inquire about Sayeed's health.