modi mufti

Mufti to head 25-member cabinet; PM to attend his swearing-in on Sunday

PDP patron Mufti Mohammed Sayeed will head a 25-member cabinet, half of it from BJP, in Jammu & Kashmir and the swearing-in ceremony on Sunday in Jammu will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

With the PDP-BJP deal sealed after ironing out differences over contentions issues like Article 370 and AFSPA, 79-year- old Sayeed, who will be sworn in as chief minister, met the Prime Minister on Friday, capping two-month long hard negotiations between the two parties on government formation.

According to highly-placed sources, Sayeed will be heading a 25-member cabinet which will have 12 BJP MLAs including a deputy chief minister post. This is the first time that BJP is in the government in the state.

Accompanied by chief interlocutor of PDP Haseeb Drabu, Sayeed had a nearly one-hour long meeting with Modi during which he extended invitation to the PM for attending the swearing-in ceremony at Jammu on March one.

Modi and Sayeed were all smiles as they hugged and posed for cameras with their photographs trending on social networks within minutes.

“I have extended invitation to the Prime Minister for attending the ceremony and he has agreed,” Sayeed told reporters after the meeting at PM’s official residence at 7, Race Course Road.

He refused to answer any specific questions on controversial issues like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) or Article 370 and said the Common Minimum programme (CMP) will be announced at 3pm on Sunday.

He said lot of discussions have taken place for the past two months to forge a common ground, a common agenda. He equated the PDP-BJP coalition with “bringing together of North Pole with South Pole”.

“The mandate of election is clear that PDP is the choice of people in Kashmir and BJP in Jammu. So we decided that we will unite together to give a government which will give all round development to all the regions in the state,” he said.

“It was discussed how a stable government should be formed. The PDP was of the view that we should not allow the opportunity to go waste as it was a historic opportunity with the government at the Centre that has a clear mandate of people to deliver,” he said.

Sayeed, who will be returning to power after a gap of more than nine years, backed Modi’s slogan, saying, “I also want Sab ka saath, sab ka vikas (development for all).” He was the Chief Minister of the state from November, 2002 to 2005. (PTI)

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