J&K finally gets a govt; PDP's Mufti Sayeed sworn in as CM for second time

Jammu, Mar 1: Ending 49-days of Governor rule, Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday got a new government with veteran PDP leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed taking oath as Chief Minister of a 25-member cabinet which marked the entry of BJP for the first time in the state government.

79-year-old Sayeed was administered oath of office and secrecy by Governor N N Vohra at Zorawar Stadium where the ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior BJP leaders -- L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, party President Amit Shah and General Secretary Ram Madhav. The swearing-in was boycotted by National Conference.

PDP leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed

The alliance, which has been termed by Sayeed as meeting of "North Pole and South Pole", saw senior BJP leader Nirmal Singh being sworn-in as a Minister, a historic day for the saffron party in the state as it became part of the government for the first time.

He will be the Deputy Chief Minister of the PDP-BJP alliance government. Sayeed's swearing-in as the 12th Chief Minister brings to an end to 49 days of Governor's rule imposed on the state since the resignation of Omar Abdullah as chief minister after being voted out of power last December.

It also marks Sayeed's return to the top post after nearly a decade since having led a PDP-Congress coalition government for three years from January 2002.

Among others who took oath as Ministers were Abdul Rehman Veeri, Haseeb Drabu, Naeem Akhtar, Basharat Bukhari (all PDP), Lal Singh, Chander Prakash, Sukhnandan Chowdhury and Bali Bhagat (BJP).

Priya Sethi (BJP) and Aasiya Naqqash (PDP) were the two women legislators taking oath as Ministers. Lal Singh, who switched sides from Congress to the BJP just before the elections, took oath in Dogri language. The cabinet saw entry of separatist turned politician Sajjad Gani Lone being sworn-in as the cabinet minister from the BJP quota.

After the swearing-in, he received a tight-hug from the Prime Minister. PDP legislator Haseeb Drabu, who was the chief negotiator from the party in formulating a Common Minimum Programme (CMP), was welcomed by the Prime Minister with all hugs and smiles for making the alliance possible.


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