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J&K CM Mufti Sayeed passes away; daughter Mehbooba likely to take over

By Mukhtar Ahmad
Last updated on: January 07, 2016 11:10 IST
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Mehbooba Mufti, his eldest child, will likely succeed him, reports Mukhtar Ahmed/

Five days before he turned 80, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed passed into the ages on Thursday, January 7.

Muftisaab, detected with sepsis, decreased blood counts and pneumonia, was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on December 24 after he complained of neck pain and fever.

Since then, he continued to be in the AIIMS' Intensive Care Unit giving anxious moments to the doctors as his platelets dropped dangerously low.

He took over as chief minister of the Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition on March 1 last year. His eldest daughter Mehbooba Mufti is now seen as his likely successor as chief minister.

On November 13, Muftisaab hinted at Mehbooba becoming the next chief minister.

Mehbooba, Muftisaab said, was better connected with the people. "I did not get time to meet people. She has better access to the people and party workers than me and she understands their problems. So she deserves it (to be chief minister)," he said.

"I only sit in the office, but she works in the field," he added.

Mehbooba -- a Member of Parliament from South Kashmir's Anantnag constituency -- had then voiced her reluctance to shoulder the responsibility.

The PDP and BJP are expected to discuss the issue and take a call on who the next chief minister will be.

Muftisaab was the first Muslim to be India's home minister in 1989. He was twice Jammu and Kashmir's chief minister.

Born on January 12, 1936 in the highway town of Bejibehara in south Kashmir's Anantnag district, he started his political career as a Congress activist and rose to the position of state party chief.

He remained with the party till 1987 when he joined the V P Singh-led Jan Morcha.

In 1999, he founded the Peoples Democratic Party, which won a good number of seats in the 2002 state assembly polls. The PDP later aligned with the Congress to form the coalition government which he headed till November 2005.

Muftisaab again became chief minister in March 2015 after the PDP won 28 seats in the 2014 assembly polls and headed a coalition government with the BJP.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar