January 8, 2016 6:30:10 pm
After the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, his daughter Mehbooba Mufti is likely to be the next chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir in the next few days. Mehbooba will be the first woman chief minister of the J&K and it will be the first administrative challenge she has ever faced as she has never held any administrative post in the past.
Mehbooba, 55, an MP twice and an MLA thrice, has been in the active politics for the last two decades. She helped the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) emerge as the single largest party in a short span of time – the party was founded by her father in 1999 along with a few senior politicians of the state.
A law graduate, Mehbooba started her political career when she was elected to the state assembly from her native town Bijbehara in 1996 as a Congress candidate. As a politician, Mehbooba has learned all the maneouvres of politicking from her father who was a mature and a seasoned politician with vast experience both in politics and administration.
Mehbooba’s style of functioning, however, will be very different from her father’s, especially in dealing with the bureaucracy in the day to day affairs of the state. Unlike, her father, who was unwell due to a number of ailments, Mehbooba will be more energetic. Those who have worked with her, consider Mehbooba a hard worker and a good task master who always want quick results.
Though she knows every worker and leader of her party in Kashmir, she relied on her father to bridge the divide between the Valley and the Jammu region. To take workers of all the regions along, will be a real test for her.
Though the analysts don’t believe that Mehbooba’s appointment as chief minister would impact the government, they see dissent within her party and its declining popularity as the two major challenges she will face in the coming days.
The PDP’s decision to join hands with the BJP to form a coalition government has been unpopular with many in Kashmir who voted the party to power in order to keep out the BJP. This is a major challenge for Mehbooba. And to arrest the decline in the party’s popularity, will she have to reconsider the coalition?
Another test will be how she deals with the BJP, whose leaders will always look for an opportunity to pursue their agenda in running the state’s affairs.
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