After taking over as Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minster Mehbooba Mufti did some tough talking to her new team-“perform or people will teach a lesson.”
Chairing her first cabinet meeting as the first woman chief minister of country’s only Muslim majority state, Mufti told her ministerial colleagues: “Perform or else the people will teach you a lesson.”
Having already lost nearly three months in refurbishing an alliance her late father Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had tailored by calling it ‘the meeting of the north and the south’, Mehbooba settled down to business immediately after being sworn in here on Monday.
Nirmal Singh (BJP), deputy chief minister has been allotted power development, housing and urban department portfolios.
Abdul Rehman Bhat Veeri (PDP) is the new minister for roads and buildings and parliamentary affairs.
PDP ministers Haseeb Drabu and Naeem Akhtar retained finance and education respectively.
Abdul Haq (PDP) gets rural development, panchayati raj and law.
Syed Basharat Bukhari (PDP) has been allotted revenue, relief and rehabilitation.
During his 10-month stint as education minister Akhtar was ‘blamed’ in a lighter vein for having pushed non-performing teachers to suffer from sleep disorders.
Bali Bhagat (BJP) gets health and medical education, Sajjad Lone (Peoples Conference) social welfare, Chowdhary Zulfiqar (PDP) consumer affairs and public distribution, Choudhary Lal Singh (BJP) gets forests, ecology and environment, Abdul Ghani Kohli (BJP) animal husbandry and veterinary department.
All other departments including general administration, home, tourism and those not allotted to any other minister will be handled by the chief minister herself.
While PDP dropped four of its ministers Altaf Bukhari, Abdul Majid Padder, Javed Mustafa Mir and Ashraf Mir, BJP dropped two. The size of the council of ministers has been reduced to 23 from the earlier 25.
After the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s death on January 7, Mehbooba had refused to form the government unless centre announced some Kashmir specific Confidence Building Measures. Mehbooba wanted BJP to stay true to the agenda of alliance and give her some more room for plying her brand of politics in Kashmir Valley – the party’s core constituency.