Even as suspense continues over next government formation, late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's family has vacated the official bungalow of the Chief Minister here, leading to questions as to what his daughter and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti could be up to.
Even as suspense continues over next government formation, late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s family has vacated the official bungalow of the Chief Minister here, leading to questions as to what his daughter and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti could be up to.
Begum Gulshan, wife of the late leader and mother of Mehbooba, visited the bungalow at Wazarat Road in Jammu city on January 18, just 11 days after Sayeed’s demise, and took away the family belongings.
“Mufti Sahab ceased to be the Chief Minister and on 18th of this month, the family got its all personal belongings from that house in the best traditions of public conduct,” PDP spokesman and former Minister Naeem Akhtar told PTI.
“There is nothing political about it. This is a normal practice..Mufti Sahab had always batted for this,” he said, adding “It is the designated house of the Chief Minister. How can someone who is not a Chief Minister stay there?”
This assumes significance as Mehbooba is expected to be the next Chief Minister as PDP is the largest party in the Assembly even though she has maintained suspense over the issue.
PDP, which has 27 MLAs in the 87-member Assembly, ran a 10-month coalition government with BJP headed by Sayeed before his demise on January 7.
According to rules, official accommodation can be retained for one month after a person ceases to be the Chief Minister, said an official of the state government.
There was no handover and takeover with the family of deceased Chief Minister, said an official of the Estates Department which is responsible for allocation of government accommodations.
“Whatever may be technicalities, they have taken all of their belongings. That means that they have vacated it,” the official added. “This is an exceptional case… Mufti sahib’s wife had come to official CM’s residence and took away all of the family belongings,” the official said.
While the belongings were moved out rather quietly from the highly-protected bungalow, the news spread days later and the Estates Department sought a report from its Deputy Director about its authenticity.
“After the illness of Mufti Sayeed, the Estates Department had only one Chowkidar to look after it and he was not allowed inside by the Chief Minister’s special security force,” said the official of the department.
“So the Estates Department did not know when Madam ji came and took away the family belongings silently. But it is confirmed she had come some 5 to 6 days back,” he said.
The step intensified the suspense as to what Mehbooba is up to with regard to the government formation as all eyes are on her only.
Some indication in this regard may be obtained after she meets senior party workers and zonal presidents on January 31 in Srinagar to discuss the latest developments in the state including getting feedback from them on government formation.
A similar meeting has been convened by her in Jammu, the winter capital of the state, on February 3.
The meetings have been convened three weeks after Governor’s Rule was imposed in the state after Sayeed’s death.
Mehbooba was seen as successor to her father as Chief Minister but she has maintained suspense over the issue and not yet staked claim to form the government.
Days back, she held a meeting with senior leaders who authorised her to take a decision on the formation of the next government but she has still not revealed her cards.
Some PDP leaders had said that Mehbooba wanted a review of the work done during Sayeed’s 10-month tenure, especially with regard to implementation of ‘Agenda of Alliance’ framed with BJP.
Meanwhile, Mehbooba has lately brought to limelight her brother Tassaduq Hussain, a cinematographer by profession who has remained away from politics so far, amid speculation that he may join the party.
Hussain has made a soft entry into the PDP by attending a party meeting following Sayeed’s death.