National

Mehbooba creates history as J&K

Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti, 56, on Monday took oath as the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Bharatiya Janata Party's Nirmal Singh was sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister, bringing back a popular government after 11 weeks of Governor's rule, imposed following the demise of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

Governor N.N. Vohra also administered the oath of office to 22 Ministers, 11 each from alliance partners PDP and BJP.

Congratulating Ms. Mufti, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "May the new government of J&K leave no stone unturned in fulfilling the dreams and aspirations of the people and take the State to new heights of progress."

Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Jitendra Singh and Harsimrat Kaur Badal were present at the swearing-in ceremony. "It's good that a popular government is back on the same agreed agenda. The focal point will be good and clean governance. The delay [in government formation] only helped in mutual understanding and removing misconceptions," said BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav, the Centre's chief interlocutor during the coalition crisis after Mr. Sayeed’s demise on January 7.

Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh stressed that the tie-up "is only governance-centric and not an alliance of political ideologies."

Later, chairing her first meeting of the Council of Ministers, Ms. Mufti called for "preventing corruption and ensuring transparency".

The PDP dropped four former ministers while inducting two new faces. The BJP also inducted two new persons in the Council of Ministers. Among those dropped by Ms Mufti is senior PDP leader Altaf Bukhari. Party MP Tariq Hameed Karra boycotted the swearing-in ceremony. Mr. Karra was opposed to the PDP-BJP alliance but threw his weight behind the coalition government recently after "assurances" of a top party post.

Source The Hindu

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