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Challenge to Mehbooba’s leadership



[ February 21, 2017 ]
The quitting of two ministers in protest against change in portfolios of some ministers after induction of MLA Amirakaval Syed Altaf Bukhari is by all standards of political understandabilities a big challenge to the leadership of Mehbooba Mufti as both the ministers have tendered their resignations to demand portfolios of their choice.

Since one minister is yet to resume work and message of minister continuing resistance against denial of portfolio on demand for portfolio of hi

While the Chief Minister has the discretion to induct or de-induct ministers and allot portfolios to them but ministers by demanding the portfolios of their choice wanted to convey a message that they have the capacity to challenge the decisions of the Chief Minister. As far as the authority of PDP brass coming to question is concerned there is a history behind it. During the reign of Gh Nabi Azad led PDP-Congress coalition government the then Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig was recalled from the government just for the fault of getting portfolios’ of his choice allotted with the intervention of the then Chief Minister in violation of the proposal of the then PDP Chief Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Just for daring to work in connivance with the then Chief Minister Gh Nabi Azad, the then PDP Chief Mufti Mohammad Sayeed kept Muzaffar Hussain Baig waiting for his re-induction for about one year. Similarly former PDP Chief Mufti Mohammad Sayeed shunted one of the party’s founders and a veteran leader Gh Hassan Mir for daring to fuel dissidence in the party. After the death of former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the present Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti dropped trusted confident of her father Syed Altaf Bukhari just for the fault of saying some words against the party’s stand on alliance with BJP and kept him out from the government for about ten months.
Now when Syed Altaf Bukhari was inducted and portfolis of some ministers were changed, two ministers shoot off resignation letters just and publicly demanded portfolios’ of their choice but with one minister resuming duties, Mehbooba Mufti has neutralized the challenge to her leadership thrown by the resignations of two ministers. Just to show that her writ runs both in the government and the party the Chief Minister has asked both the ministers to withdraw their resignation and questioned their right to go public with their resignations instead of discussing the issue within the party. So in a way Chief Minister has sought explanations from the ministers instead of responding to their demands for portfolios of their choice. Since one minister is yet to resume work and message of minister continuing resistance against denial of portfolio on demand for portfolio of his choice has come from his uncle also a sitting party MLA, it is too early to say that Mehbooba has overcome the challenge posed to her leadership by the resignations of two ministers.