Mufti Sayeed becomes CM, Sajjad Lone takes oath as minister

JAMMU: Peoples Democratic Party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed took oath of office as chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir State on Sunday morning.  Sayeed's taking charge brings an end to 49 days of Governor's Rule since the assembly election results were announced in December.

It is for the first time an alliance has been formed between the PDP and the right wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party for government formation in India's only Muslim dominated but strife torn state fot next six years.

Sayeed, 79, who founded his party in 1999, has dubbed the PDP-BJP alliance as the meeting of "North Pole and South Pole."

BJP leader Nirmal Singh took oath as deputy chief minister. 

Sayeed was administered the oath at General Zorawar Singh Auditorium of Jammu University shortly after 11 am. The function was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior BJP leaders including L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi.

The December assembly election, which recorded one of the highest voter turnouts in Jammu and Kashmir, led to PDP emerging as the single largest party with 28 seats, BJP 25, National Conference 15 and Congress 12.

The BJP-PDP alliance new government will have 25 lawmakers. Separatist-turned-politician Sajjad Gani Lone, who met Modi ahead of the elections in Delhi, took oath to become a minister in the BJP-PDP government.

The deal struck between the two parties allows Mufti to be the chief minister for the full six-year term.

Although the BJP and PDP have struck a deal, there is concern over whether the two parties will be able to function together given their vast ideological differences on critical issues like Article 370, which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir State, and the AFPSA law, which shields soldiers from prosecution in conflict zones.

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