Jammu, Apr 4: Jammu and Kashmir got its first woman chief minister today in PDP President Mehbooba Mufti who was sworn-in here along with 22 ministers, with an increased strength for BJP in the Cabinet.
Dressed in black, 56-year-old Mehbooba took the oath of office and secrecy in Urdu followed by BJP's Nirmal Singh, who will again be the Deputy Chief Minister in the new PDP-BJP government formed three months after the state was put under Governor's rule following the demise of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
Governor N N Vohra also administered the oath to 21 other Ministers. BJP's share increased this time in the Cabinet from six to eight berths and three Ministers of State (MoS) while PDP has nine Cabinet Ministers instead of 11 last time.
Mehbooba's party has got three MoS berths, same as the last time. In the last government, BJP had a total of 11 ministers -- six in Cabinet, three MoS and two with independent charge. Sajjad Gani Lone, son of late separatist leader Abdul Gani Lone, remained in the Cabinet in the BJP quota. PDP has dropped Altaf Bukhari and Javed Mustafa from the ministry.
Former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar, Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Jitendra Singh were among the host of VIPs present at the function held at Raj Bhavan. However, PDP MP Tariq Hamid Karra and Congress boycotted the ceremony. BJP promoted Chering Dorje and Abdul Gani Kohli as Cabinet ministers. They were Ministers of State with independent charge in the Sayeed-led government.
The saffron party has Prakash Kumar and Shyam Lal Chowdhury among the new faces in the cabinet. BJP leader Sukhnandan was dropped from the list of Ministers besides Minister of State Pawan Gupta, an independent MLA from Udhampur, who has been replaced by Ajay Nanda. Law Minister in the Sayeed's ministry, Basharat Bukhari of PDP, took oath in Kashmiri again this year.
Mehbooba assuming office as 13th Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir is a landmark event in the history of the state and the country. She is the first woman to head the state and the second Muslim woman to become the Chief Minister of any state in India. Syeda Anwara Taimur was the first Muslim woman CM in Assam in 1980 and continued to hold the chair till June 30, 1981.