Jammu: The 49-day Governor’s rule will come to an end on Sunday in Jammu and Kashmir with the swearing-in of PDP leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as the Chief Minister in an alliance with the BJP, which will be part of a government for the first time in the state.
Mr Sayeed, 79, will be administered oath of office by Governor NN Vohra at a function which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and senior BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi among others.
The strength of the alliance government, which has been termed as a meeting of “North Pole and South Pole” by Mr Sayeed, is expected to be 25 with 12 MLAs of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) set to take oath along with 11 drawn from the BJP including Nirmal Singh, tipped to be the Deputy Chief Minister.
Among the other prominent faces who are likely to be part of Mr Sayeed’s cabinet include PDP leaders Haseeb Drabu, Abdul Rehman Veeri and Naeem Akhtar and BJP’s Kavinder Gupta and Bali Bhagat.
After the swearing-in, all eyes will be on the release of the Common Minimum Programme by the two parties jointly and the point of interest will be how the two sides have dealt with controversial issues like Article 370, which gives special status to the state, and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which gives the Army the authority to make arrests without warrants.
The assembly election in the state in December produced a highly-fractured mandate with the PDP emerging as the single largest party with 28 MLAs followed by the BJP with 25. The National Conference and Congress, erstwhile allies, ended with 15 and 12 seats respectively.
BJP and PDP, which have been in negotiations for nearly two months, claimed to have sorted out all differences over contentious issues including Article 370 and APSPA. The PDP’s other key demands have included a reconciliation process with Pakistan and a dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference.