BJP general secretary Ram Madhav will visit Srinagar on Friday to meet party legislators and decide on extending support to Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti who is tipped to be the Jammu and Kashmir’s first female chief minister.
Madhav –instrumental in stitching up the alliance between the ideologically-divergent BJP and PDP after the last assembly elections -- is likely to hold a meeting with party MLAs in the presence of the BJP’s state in-charge Avinash Rai.
The party is likely to back Mehbooba, who is widely expected to take over the reins after her father and sitting CM, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, died of cardio-respiratory failure on Thursday.
Confirming the development, BJP spokesman Sunil Sethi told HT all party MLAs were in Srinagar.
“The meeting is likely to take place in the afternoon and the decision will be conveyed to the governor accordingly,’’ Sethi said. A PDP leader confirmed to HT that the party has already sent its letter of support for Mehbooba to the governor.
Sayeed is the third J&K chief minister to die in office but a delay in the announcement of the successor is unprecedented.
When Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq died in a Chandigarh hospital on December 12, 1971, the transfer of power took place the same day and Mir Qasim succeeded him.
National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was succeeded by son Farooq Abdullah, even before the legendary Kashmiri leader was laid to rest on September 8, 1982.
But in spite of indications that the coalition partners were likely to back Mehbooba, the saffron party is yet to formally submit its letters of support for the 56-year-old leader who is credited with building the party from the ground up in the Valley.
Sources, however, said the letter is likely to reach the governor by afternoon and oath ceremony will be held soon after.