With four new faces, Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti was today administered oath as first woman chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir in a low key affair at Raj Bhawan here. Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra administered oath to Ms Mufti along with her 22 ministerial colleagues. Meanwhile, four new faces (2 each from BJP-PDP) were inducted as ministers in Mehbooba led coalition government. BJP’s Dr Nirmal Singh for the second time again took over as Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
The process of government formation was in progress for the last three months after the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7 at AIIMS in New Delhi. Both PDP-BJP held deliberations with each other over various issues and after a period of three-months, the government was formed in Jammu and Kashmir having Ms Mehbooba Mufti as 13th chief minister. In new brigade of ministry, MLA Suchetgarh Choudhary Sham Lal (cabinet) and MLA Reasi Ajay Nanda (MoS), both from BJP are inducted while from PDP Syed Farooq Andrabi (MLA Duru) and Zahoor Ahmad Mir (MLA Pampore) are the newcomers. Farooq Andrabi had defeated state Congress president and former minister Ghulam Ahmad Mir.
Mufti Sayeed’s cabinet had 25 ministers but Ms Mehbooba Mufti have inducted 22 while two more will be included during expansion of ministry. Mehbooba headed government have new cabinet ministers including Dr Nirmal Singh, A R Veeri, Chander Prakash Ganga, Ghulam Nabi Lone, Bali Bhagat, Abdul Haq Khan, Choudhary Lal Singh, Basharat Bukhari, Sajjad Gani Lone, Haseeb Drabu, Chering Dorjey, Choudhary Zulfiqar, Sham Choudhary, Naeem Akhtar Abdul Gani Kohli and Imran Raza Ansari. MoS: Asia Naqash, Sunil Sharma, Syed Farooq Andrabi, Priya Sethi, Zahoor Ahmad Mir and Ajay Nanda. However, PDP has 13 ministers in kitty and BJP 10. Former ministers Sukhnandan Choudhary, Pawan Gupta (BJP) and Abdul Majid Paddar and Syed Altaf Bukhari have been dropped from Ms Mehbooba’s cabinet.