SRINAGAR: Mehbooba Mufti, the charismatic leader of regional Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), on Monday became the first woman Chief Minister of restive Jammu and Kashmir. Son of a security aide of erstwhile Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir, Nirmal Singh who holds a doctorate degree in history, was today sworn in as the deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir for the second time. Ms Mufti was sworn into power nearly three months after her father and then Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed died in a Delhi hospital on January 7.
Ms Mufti, who would be 57 next month, took the oath in the name of God in Urdu, the official language of Jammu and Kashmir, in a simple function held at Raj Bhavan in winter capital Jammu. She was administered oath of office and secrecy by Governor Narendra Nath Vohra. She would be heading a PDP-BJP coalition in the State for next nearly five years as a little over one year of the stipulated six year term of the State Assembly elected in the November-December 2014 elections is already complete.
She is the 13th chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and the country’s second woman Muslim chief minister after Syeda Anwara Taimur who became Assam’s CM on December 6, 1980 and continued in office till June 30, 1981. Ms Mufti also became the 16th female CM to serve a state. Currently, there are four in office. They are J Jayalalitha (Tamil Nadu), Anandiben Patel (Guj-arat), Vasundhara Raje (Rajasthan) and Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal).
Twenty-two other ministers including 16 Cabinet rank ministers and the rest ministers of state also took oath in a brief ceremony. The cabinet rank minister are Abdul Rehman Butt Veeri, Ghulam Nabi Lone, Abdul Haq Khan, Syed Basharat Bukhari, Haseeb A. Drabu, Chauhary Zulfikar Ali, Syed Naeem Akhtar and Moulvi Imran Raza Ansari (all PDP) and Dr. Nirmal Singh, Chander Prakash, Bali Bhagat, Chaudhary Lal Singh, Sajad Gani Lone, Shayam Lal Chaudhary and Abdul Gani Kohli (all BJP)....