By Sheikh Qayoom
Jammu: The option of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti taking over the reins of power “is not even being discussed because the daughter is totally focused on the well being of her father”, senior Jammu and Kashmir minister Naeem Akhtar asserted Wednesday.
Akhtar, however, added in the eventuality of the ailing chief minister, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, being advised rest by doctors, Mehbooba was the obvious choice.
Sayeed has been battling a severe chest infection in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) New Delhi for the last 14 days.
The veteran Kashmiri politician would be 80 on January 12 and everybody wishes him speedy recovery.
PDP workers have been organizing prayer meetings in Kashmir for Sayeed’s well being.
On Tuesday, a big prayer meeting was held at the shrine of Kashmir’s patron Sufi saint, Sheikh Nooruddin Wali, known reverently as ‘Nund Rishi’ at Charar-e-Sharief town in Badgam district.
The budget session of state legislature begins here on January 18 and the ruling PDP-BJP coalition would like the leader of the house to be present during this crucial session.
Constitutional experts say the presence of Sayeed during the legislature session is not mandatory and it can go on in his absence.
The state has a deputy chief minister who belongs to the BJP and as per precedence, Nirmal Singh can look after the day-to-day affairs of governance in the absence of the chief minister.
Yet, the continuing suspense over who is running the affairs of state has caused an administrative inertia as everybody in the ruling coalition and the top echelons of power is discussing only one thing – would Sayeed be able to discharge his duties after he recovers from his present ailment?
“If power has to be handed over to Mehbooba Mufti a constitutional process has to be followed, renowned constitutional expert Zafar Shah said.