Citizens' Issues
Decks cleared for Mehbooba Mufti to head new J&K government

PDP lawmakers had gathered at the Muftis to discuss government formation with the BJP. Akhtar said the decision was unanimous and every legislator and senior PDP leader was on board

 

Mehbooba Mufti was on Thursday unanimously elected as the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers, paving the way for her to become the first woman chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and head a government in India's only Muslim majority state after months of tension with the ruling partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
 
"Mehbooba Mufti has been nominated as the chief ministerial candidate of the PDP," party spokesman and former minister Naeem Akhtar told reporters outside the Fairview residence of the Muftis on the high security Gupkar Road in Srinagar.
 
PDP lawmakers had gathered at the Muftis to discuss government formation with the BJP. Akhtar said the decision was unanimous and every legislator and senior PDP leader was on board.
 
Mehbooba is meeting Governor N.N. Vohra on Friday and is most likely to stake claim to power. BJP state president Sat Pal Sharma is also meeting the governor on the same day at the state Raj Bhawan in winter capital Jammu.
 
Senior BJP leaders, Jitendra Singh, minister of state in PMO, and Ram Madhav, party national general secretary, are expected to be Jammu on Friday to hold a meeting with the state BJP legislators and senior leaders to discuss the government formation with the PDP.
 
The swearing-in date is also expected to be announced after Mehbooba and Sharma meet Vohra, separately though. Top sources told IANS that the oath taking ceremony of the Mehbooba-led new government would take place in Jammu early next month.
 
Mehbooba, 56, will now succeed her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who died on January 7, as the chief minister. Jammu and Kashmir has been without an elected government since.
 
Mehbooba was tipped to take over the reins but she dragged her feet on continuing to ally with the BJP and wanted it to redraw the alliance terms that her father had authored. However, the BJP refused any fresh concessions and said it will only give assurances on the agenda, finalized last year when the two parties came together to form the state government.
 
After remaining entrenched in their respective positions for more than two months, the two sides warmed up to each other following Mehbooba's meeting with Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday in Delhi.
 
Senior PDP leader and Lok Sabha member Muzaffar Hussain Beigh denied that there has been any give and take with the BJP. "There is no addition or subtraction from the agenda of alliance agreed upon by the two parties. The agenda will be implemented in letter and spirit."
 
PDP leader and Lok Sabha member Tariq Hameed Karra, a vocal opponent of his party's continuation of alliance with the BJP, was also present in Thursday's meeting.
 
Before chairing the PDP meeting, Mehbooba went to her father's grave in south Kashmir Bijbehara town along with one of her daughters to pray there and apparently seek blessings for the governance innings she would be playing for the first time in her political career.
 
She presently represents south Kashmir's Anantnag constituency in the Lok Sabha. She will now have to get elected to either house of the state's bicameral legislature and also resign her Lok Sabha seat.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Bid made on Bal Thackeray's life, attacker slipped: Headley

During his examination-in-chief by Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam on February 12, Headley had first confirmed the Lashkar-e-Taiba's plot to target Thackeray, but had said nothing on an unsuccessful bid made to kill him and the attacker having slipped from the police hands

 

In a shocking disclosure, Pakistani-American terrorist-turned-approver David Coleman Headley on Thursday claimed that an attempt was made on the life of late Shiv Sena founder-patriarch Bal Thackeray.
 
"I believe an attempt was made on the life of the Shiv Sena chief... The man who made the attempt had escaped from police custody," Headley said in the Special Court of Additional Sessions Judge G.A. Sanap.
 
His replies came on the second day of his cross-examination conducted by lawyer Abdul Wahab Khan, the defence counsel for Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, who is facing trial in the 26/11 case.
 
During his examination-in-chief by Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam on February 12, Headley had first confirmed the Lashkar-e-Taiba's plot to target Thackeray, but had said nothing on an unsuccessful bid made to kill him and the attacker having slipped from the police hands.
 
"The LeT wanted to target the chief of Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray). LeT wanted to kill him whenever a chance arose. I have no first-hand knowledge, but I think an attempt was made to kill him," Headley said.
 
Denying knowledge of how the attempt was made, he said the person sent to kill Thackeray was arrested but slipped from police custody.
 
When Khan asked him how many times he visited the party headquarters Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar and what was the motive, Headley said he recced the building twice and reiterated that the LeT's target was the late Thackeray.
 
To the question, under whose instructions, Headley said he was instructed by his LeT supervisor in Pakistan, Sajid Mir.
 
On any other attempts on Thackeray's life, Headley said he had learnt of one previous attempt on the late champion of Hindutva (Thackeray), and the man who made the bid had escaped police custody.
 
He said post 26/11, when he returned to India in March 2009 to plan out further attacks on behalf of the Al Qaeda terror group, its leader Iliyas Kashmiri funded him to the tune of around one lakh Pakistani rupees.
 
Headley said that though the LeT came under pressure after the 2008 Mumbai terror strikes, it did not become 'soft' towards India.
 
"I think the LeT became soft about Denmark, but not India. After the Denmark issue, I went to Al Qaeda as the LeT had become soft," he claimed.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 

 

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5,624 motorists challaned on Holi in Delhi
As many as 5,624 motorists were challaned on Holi for violating traffic rules in Delhi as a woman pillion rider died in a road accident during the festivities, police said on Thursday.
 
"We have prosecuted 5,624 motorists for various traffic offences on Holi between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. As many as 1,085 vehicles were also impounded," Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Muktesh Chander told IANS. 
 
Of those challaned, 313 were booked for overspeeding, 218 for dangerous driving, 1,941 for drunken driving, 2,129 for not wearing helmets, 499 for riding triple on two-wheelers, 130 for wrong-side driving and 294 for other offences. 
 
The officer said a woman riding pillion died when the motorcycle she was riding collided with a Metro pillar on the Panchkuyian Road in central Delhi. "Both she and the bike driver were without helmets."
 
"The challan drive is still on and over 400 traffic police teams have been deployed across the city to avoid hooliganism and violation of traffic rules," the officer said. 
 
Till late Wednesday night, traffic police reported 558 drunken driving cases, with the highest 264 cases in south Delhi.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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