Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party chief Mufti Mohammed Sayeed was on Saturday sworn-in as the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
Senior Congress leader Mangat Ram Sharma was sworn-in as the deputy chief minister by Governor Girish Chander Saxena at a well-attended function at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre in Srinagar amid tight security.
The 66-year-old Sayeed is expected to keep the key portfolio of home with him.
PDP vice-president Muzzaffar Hussain Baig, who played a key role in forging the coalition, and Peerzada Mohammed Sayeed, a senior Congress leader, were sworn-in as Cabinet ministers.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi attended the ceremony along with senior party leaders Manmohan Singh and Ambika Soni.
National Conference president Omar Abdullah was also present.
Ghulam Hassan Mir of PDP, who defeated Mustafa Kamal, brother of Farooq Abdullah, in Gulmarg, and Mula Ram, a trusted lieutenant of state Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ghulam Nabi Azad, were sworn in as Cabinet ministers.
Jammu and Kashmir Panther's Party's Harsh Dev Singh was also sworn in as a Cabinet minister.
Two independents, Nawang Rigzin from Leh and Haji Nissar Ali representing Kargil assembly seat, were sworn-in as ministers of state.
After the ceremony Sayeed said, "It is historic day. I pray to god that the government comes up to the expectations of the people."
Sonia Gandhi, talking to reporters, dismissed apprehensions that the new coalition government would be 'soft' towards militancy.
The steps being taken by the government regarding merging of Special Operations Group with local police and releasing of political prisoners would by no means affect the situation in the state, she said.
She described Sayeed as a 'very experienced and responsible' leader, who will lead the government 'effectively'.
On the share of Congress in the ministry, she said, "We will not press for numbers but try to provide a stable government."
Gandhi described the ministry as small and indicated an expansion was likely in the near future.
PROFILE OF THE MINISTERS INDUCTED:
Harsh Dev Singh: A 39-year-old legislator of the Jammu and Kashmir Panther's Party from the Ramnagar constituency of Udhampur district. He made history by becoming the first minister from his party in the state Cabinet. A law graduate, Singh has been conferred the best legislator award by the state assembly and lauded across party lines for his debating skills.
Muzaffar Hussain Baig: A master's degree holder in law from the Havard Law School in the United States, Baig was vice-president of the People's Conference, a constituent of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, from 1980-84. He was practicing in the Supreme Court from 1988 before becoming vice-president of the PDP. He later participated actively in the government formation. A former advocate general of the state, 52-year-old Baig began his political career in 1998 by unsuccessfully contesting the parliamentary election from Baramulla.
Mangat Ram Sharma: A senior Congress leader, he is the second deputy chief minister of the state from Jammu region after Devi Das Thakur, who held the post in the ministry of Ghulam Mohammed Shah, estranged brother-in-law of Farooq Abdullah. Sharma, who became a Member of Parliament in 1996, was the speaker of the state legislative assembly from 1984 to 1987 and a minister of state from 1975 to 1977. He was believed to have lost the race to another senior Congress leader Tara Chand, but the party high command cleared his name for the post on Friday evening.
Peerzada Mohammed Sayeed: A seasoned Congress politician, he braved the threat of militants from volatile Kokernag assembly constituency in south Kashmir and made it to the state Cabinet on account of his loyalty to the party. A minister of state in the National Conference-Congress government in 1987, 55-year-old Sayeed began his political career in 1968 by becoming the district president of Congress.
Ghulam Hassan Mir: The senior vice-president of the PDP got elected from Gulmarg assembly seat. A law graduate from Aligarh, 51-year-old Mir served as the state's law minister in the GM Shah ministry in 1984.
Mulla Ram: A Cabinet minister in 1987, 49-year-old Ram was a surprise entrant in the Cabinet as his name was doing rounds for the speaker's post.
Grenade attack at Sayeed's residence
Sayeed faces a yeoman task
'If North and South Korea could, why can't we talk on Kashmir?'
Back to top
Tell us what you think of this report