Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's family vacates CM's bungalow in Jammu

Jammu: Amid suspense over government formation, late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's family has vacated the Chief Minister's official bungalow in Jammu, the winter capital of the state, leading to questions as to what his daughter and expected successor Mehbooba Mufti could be up to.

Begum Gulshan, wife of the late leader and mother of Mehbooba, visited the bungalow at Wazarat Road in Jammu city on January 18, just 11 days after Sayeed's demise, and took away the family belongings.

"Mufti Sahab ceased to be the Chief Minister and on 18th of this month, the family got its all personal belongings from that house in the best traditions of public conduct," PDP spokesman and former Minister Naeem Akhtar told PTI.

"There is nothing political about it. This is a normal practice..Mufti Sahab had always batted for this," he said, adding "It is the designated house of the Chief Minister. How can someone who is not a Chief Minister stay there?" According to rules, official accommodation can be retained for one month after a person ceases to be the Chief Minister but the family did not wait even for that time limit.

During winter months (six months from November to April), the seat of the state government shifts to Jammu and for rest of the six months, it is in Srinagar.

"The personal belongings of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed were taken out of the Chief Minister's official residence at Jammu by his family to maintain the highest standards of dignified political conduct practiced by late Sayeed," Akhtar said.

He said as Sayeed, during his lifetime, maintained highest standards of dignified political conduct, his family is carrying forward his legacy.

The step assumes significance as Mehbooba is expected to be the next Chief Minister since PDP is the largest party in the 87-member Assembly with 27 MLAs and it has an alliance with 25-member BJP.

The two parties ran a coalition government headed by Sayeed for 10 months before his demise on January 7. After her father's death, Mehbooba has maintained suspense over the issue of government formation in the state which is under Governor's Rule since January 8. The step intensified the suspense as to what Mehbooba is up to with regard to the government formation as all eyes are on her only.

Some indication in this regard may be obtained after she meets senior party workers and zonal presidents on January 31 in Srinagar to discuss the latest developments in the state including getting feedback from them on government formation.

She had convened a similar meeting on February 3 in Jammu also but it was postponed indefinitely today. Days back, she held a meeting with senior leaders who authorised her to take a decision on the formation of the next government but she has still not revealed her cards.

Some PDP leaders had said that Mehbooba wanted a review of the work done during Sayeed's 10-month tenure, especially with regard to implementation of 'Agenda of Alliance' framed with BJP.

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