Jammu and Kashmir, which was under Governor’s rule for 49 days due to political deadlock, got a new government on Sunday as PDP chief Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was administered oath of chief minister office by Governor NN Vohra at Zorawar Singh Auditorium in Jammu University. PDP-BJP alliance will now run the government in the state.
Separatists showing faith in Indian Constitution is a big thing, we welcome it, said J&K Deputy CM Nirmal Singh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who attended the ceremony at Jammu University’s General Zorawar Singh Auditorium, said, “The PDP-BJP government is a historic opportunity to fulfill the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and take the state to new heights of progress”.
A 25-member cabinet took oath, including BJP’s Nirmal Singh, who will be the state’s Deputy Chief Minister. Separatist-turned-politician and People’s Conference leader Sajjad Lone has joined the government.
“Politics is the art of the possible, even when there are contradictions,” Mr. Sayeed later said. He had earlier dubbed the coalition as a meeting of the “North Pole and the South Pole”.
The ceremony was attended by BJP chief Amit Shah, veteran leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi.
This is Mr. Sayeed’s second stint as the Chief Minister. He held the post between 2002 and 2005 in a rotational arrangement with then ally Congress.
Later, Mr. Sayeed offered a glimpse of the much-awaited Common Minimum Programme, or CMP, on basis of which they will govern the state.
The ideologically opposite parties have spent the last two months in attempts to bridge differences that have divided them for decades.
The document clarifies their stand over contentious issues like Article 370, which gives special constitutional status to the state, and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act or AFSPA, which gives the Army the authority to make arrests without warrants.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah, who skipped the ceremony, tweeted, “Congratulations to Mufti Mohd Sayeed Sb (sic) on assuming the office of CM of J&K. I wish you all the very best for your term as CM.”
In the December elections, J&K voted in a hung assembly. The PDP was the single largest party with 28 MLAs; the BJP was number 2 with 25. Together, they have an easy majority in the 87-member assembly.