On Sunday, when PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti walked into the room of her Srinagar residence where she was to chair a meeting of her party’s core group, accompanying her was her younger brother, Tassaduq Hussain Mufti.
While many party leaders were surprised to see the cinematographer-son of former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, especially since he had so far maintained that he had no interest in politics, Mehbooba began the meeting by introducing her brother.
Sources present at the meeting told The Indian Express that Mehbooba, who could soon take over as Chief Minister, also indicated that her brother was interested in joining politics as “he wants to do something for Kashmir, especially on environmental issues”.
“Mehboobaji introduced him to us in the meeting saying he wanted to know his father as a politician and leader, and the best way to know that is from his colleagues and party leaders. She said that’s why I invited him to this meeting,” sources said.
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There were enough indications, sources said, that if and when Mehbooba vacates her Lok Sabha seat — she is MP from Anantnag — to take over as Chief Minister, the person most likely to succeed her as PDP candidate from the constituency would be Tassaduq.
“Mehboobaji will contest the Assembly seat which has fallen vacant after the death of Mufti sahib. Tassaduq could be nominated by the party to contest from Anantnag. However, nothing is finalised yet,” a source present at the meeting said.
Best known for his cinematography of Bollywood hit Omkara, Tassaduq has so far maintained that he wasn’t interested in politics.
At the meeting Sunday, PDP MPs, many former ministers and senior office-bearers authorised Mehbooba to take a final call on formation of the new government with the BJP.
However, with the party’s alliance with the BJP coming under fresh strain following Sayeed’s death and with many leaders within the party questioning the practicability of persisting with the alliance with the saffron party, Mehbooba is likely to take stock of the implementation so far of the Agenda of Alliance, a common minimum programme that was agreed to by the two parties before the formation of the government last year.
Sources said while there was “very little possibility” of the PDP demanding a major overhaul of the agenda, Mehbooba is likely to take stock of its implementation.
“Despite honest efforts by the government under Mufti Sahib, the alliance government could not completely win the hearts of the people. Many leaders have felt that there were shortcomings in implementation of our common agenda. We will take stock of what went wrong and what needs to be done to ensure that the people are satisfied,” a PDP leader said.