Mehbooba Mufti, president of the Peoples Democratic Party, took the oath as the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, thereby ending 11 weeks of political uncertainty.
Governor NN Vohra administered the oath of office and secrecy to 56-year-old Mehbooba, who is the 13th Chief Minister of the state, along with 16 Cabinet Ministers and eight Minister of States. Two of the ministers who are from BJP will be given independent charge.
Daily Excelsior reported that Ms Mufti is not only the first ever woman Chief Minister of the State, she is also the first Muslim woman Chief Minister in any State of the Indian Union. More than her dynastic credentials, she has the requisite qualification in political arena of the State that entitles her to the high office to which she is invited.
It took the leaders of two prospective political parties nearly three months to debate the nitty-gritty of constructing the second formation of the Coalition Government. It is generally said that the two parties are ideologically poles apart, but the way they had dealt with the sensitive issue of forming a Coalition Government under the leadership of the late Mufti Sayeed is a proof of the compatibility of fundamentals of political arrangement in the State, which is a secular, democratic and egalitarian dispensation. This compatibility of political vision, recognized by both sides, forms the essential milestone on the road to the development of the State and restoration of peace and tranquility not only in the State but also in the region.
Daily Excelsior writes that we understand that it is this spirit and vision, which helped both sides to remain glued to the stipulations of the Agenda of Alliance, which they had cobbled with experience and sagacity when the first coalition was formed in March 2015. In a sense, the document is the Magna Carta which promises to encapsulate interests, expectations, goals and destinations of all identities in the length and breadth of the State. We are sanguine that the document will serve as beacon light to the new Government whenever they are confronted with delicate and sensitive issues. We understand the heavy responsibilities Ms Mehbooba will be shouldering by accepting the highest political office in the State.
During the intervening three months of Governor’s rule, the constitutional body called State Administrative Council took some decisions of far-reaching consequence in the larger interests of broad masses of people.
Obviously, the popular Government, as it comes to power, will not only carry forward the precedent of good governance, but will on its own, open up vast vistas of multi-faceted development of the State. It has a huge agenda of work before it, and we are confident that given the new leadership’s clear-headed thinking the State will see the ushering in of a new era of progress and peace. Fortunately, the Centre is also committed to help the State in realizing those laudable objectives.
With Mehbooba in driver’s seat, the women folk of the State will naturally entertain many expectations from her Government of ameliorating their lot, of improving their social and economic status and of giving them space for political role.
That the two parties have once again agreed to work in close cooperation is gratifying in the sense that all the three regions of the State are justifiably represented in the Government and will receive equitable share of power and development. The smooth formation of Coalition Government is a frontal attack on regionalism that had bedeviled inter-region relations in the past.
The unique qualification of Ms Mehbooba is that in the course of building political awareness among the people and extending her party’s message and activity across the length and breadth of the State, she has travelled to each district, each tehsil, each village and almost each household in the State. Of course, she has been able to win great popularity among the people but more importantly she has seen and heard from ordinary people, from people in far off rural areas what their problems are and how relief can be brought to them. For a political leader of standing, this experience is a priceless asset for her to understand and enforce what good governance should mean.