President of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mehbooba Mufti made history on Monday April 4 when she was sworn in by governor N.N. Vohra as the first female Chief Minister (CM) of Jammu and Kashmir. Taking the oath along with twenty three ministers, Ms. Mufti is the second Muslim woman in Indian history to head a state—the first was Syeda Anwara Taimur in 1980 as CM of Assam, though as reported by Hindustan Times she is uncomfortable with being tagged as such. “It’s wrong to categorise a CM as man or woman. What is there in a man which a woman can’t do,” she had said.
Ms. Mufti dove into mainstream politics in 1996 when militancy was at a high in the state and joined the Congress alongside her father, and founder of PDP, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. A popular personality and leader at the grassroots-level, she is commended for the growth and expansion of the PDP. The PDP-BJP coalition has fifty six MLAs in the 87-member assembly, with twenty seven PDP members, twenty five from the BJP and two MLA’s from the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference, with two more independent candidates.
The PDP-BJP coalition has had its ups and downs over the years but gained strength under the leadership of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who headed the government for close to ten months till his passing earlier this year on January 7. After a lot of back-and-forth and negotiations between PDP and BJP, it is said that the coalition was revived with the involvement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Ms. Mufti’s appointment may be a landmark in Indian politics but she has a long and rocky road ahead of her, heading a state of high tensions and conflicts while leading, as well as balancing, a coalition between two ideologically different, even contradictory at points, political parties.
Watch Ms. Mufti being sworn in as Chief Minister in the video posted below courtesy of Hindustan Times
Feature image courtesy of India Today