IN A move that would further consolidate her hold on the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party), J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is all set to induct younger brother Tassaduq Hussain Mufti into her Cabinet. Sources told The Indian Express that Tassaduq, who was the PDP’s candidate for the deferred Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency bypolls, will enter the House as a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) and would be subsequently made a minister.
Mehbooba took the decision reportedly after “consultations within the party”, and a relative may step down from a party post ahead of Tassaduq’s induction. However, there were reports of some unhappy voices. Sources said that when PDP leader Dilawar Mir proposed the idea for discussion at a party meeting, at least two ministers voiced their reservation. However, they were overruled by the other ministers, legislators and party leaders, who were in favour of giving Tassaduq “more formal role in the government”.
Recently, Mehbooba was elected PDP president for the sixth consecutive time, establishing her preeminence in the party after father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s death.
While he stayed away from Kashmir and politics during most of his adult life, 45-year-old Tassaduq, the youngest of Mufti’s four children and his only son, had returned to the state after their father, the then state CM, fell ill. He had later stayed back after Mufti’s death in January 2016.
On being chosen as the new leader of the PDP, Mehbooba had introduced Tassaduq to politics and the party. He was fielded from the Anantnag parliamentary constituency, which was last held by Mehbooba, but the bypolls had to be put off because of “the constant unrest” across South Kashmir.
Tassaduq has been acting as coordinator of the grievance cell in the Chief Minister’s office lately, and sources said his focus was environmental issues, urban planning and tourism.
In the time he was away from Kashmir, after leaving it in 1989, Tassaduq was enrolled in College of Business Studies at Delhi University. Later, he moved to filmmaking and made two documentaries, Travelers Tales and Trekkers Paradise. In 1999, he had joined a Masters programme in cinematography at the American Film Institute, Los Angeles. After returning, he shot Bollywood blockbusters such as Omkara and Kaminey, as well as short films, including Strike and a South Korean film, Tree.
Tassaduq is married and a father of two — a son (14) and a daughter (10).