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Mufti Sayeed passes away, Mehbooba to succeed as Chief Minister

Thursday, Jan 7, 2016,9:27 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, a crafty politician who took on the powerful Abdullah family and rose to become the country’s first Muslim Home Minister, died today at AIIMS here after his platelets dropped dangerously. Sayeed, 79, who took charge of the state on March 1 last year heading a PDP-BJP alliance, breathed his last this morning after remaining on ventilator for the past few days. He was flown from Srinagar in a special plane on December 24 and admitted to the AIIMS where he was diagnosed with sepsis, life threatening complication of an infection and pneumonia.

During hospitalisation his platelets had dropped dangerously, doctors said. He is the second Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister to die in office, the first one being Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah who died on September 8, 1982. Sayeed’s daughter 56-year-old Mehbooba is expected to take over as the first woman Chief Minister of the state with PDP leaders throwing their weight behind her. But this will require the approval of BJP. Sayeed is survived by his wife, three daughters and a son. Jammu and Kashmir government has declared a seven-day mourning and holiday today. Flags will be flown at half mast. The mortal remains of the Chief Minister would be flown to Srinagar where the body will be kept for people to pay homage. He is likely be buried in his ancestral village Bijbehera in South Kashmir, about 48 kms from Srinagar.

Sayeed took over as chief minister of PDP-BJP coalition on March 1 last year. In the 87-member Jammu and Kashmir Assembly PDP won 28 seats and BJP 25 while opposition National Conference got 15 and Congress 12. Condoling the death of Sayeed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it left a huge void in the nation and that the leader who provided a healing touch would be missed. What stood out about Mufti Sahab was his statesmanship. In his long political journey he won many admirers across the political spectrum, Modi said. Home Minister Rajnath Singh will be flying to Srinagar to attend Sayeed’s funeral.

Meanwhile many leaders like Prime Minister Modi, President Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister Rajnath Sing condoled the death of ┬áJammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti. Prime Minister Narendra Modi┬ásaid Mufti’s demise leaves a huge void in the nation and that the leader who provided a healing touch would be missed. Mufti Sahab provided a healing touch to J&K through his leadership. He will be missed by all of us. Condolences to his family & supporters, he said in a tweet. What stood out about Mufti Sahab was his statesmanship. In his long political journey he won many admirers across the political spectrum, Modi said. The Prime Minister said Mufti’s demise leaves a huge void in the nation and in J&K, where his exemplary leadership had a major impact on people’s lives.

President Pranab Mukherjee condoled the death of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and said his contribution to public service will always be remembered. Expressing his heartfelt condolences on the passing away of Sayeed, the President said, Contribution of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to Jammu and Kashmir and India through long years of public service will always be remembered. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he was deeply pained to learn of Sayeed’s demise. He was known for his love for common people, especially the underprivileged. The Home Minister, who met Sayeed’s family in AIIMS soon after his death, said Mufti Sayeed ji had a wonderful understanding of complex issues pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir. He wanted to bring permanent peace to the Valley.

The demise of Mufti Sayeed is an irreparable loss to Jammu and Kashmir. His departure has also left a big void in national politics, he said. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah condoled the death of Sayeed. Just heard the terrible news of Mufti Sahib’s passing away. I’m shocked and deeply saddened. May he rest in peace, he said in a tweet. Omar went to AIIMS and expressed his condolences to the family. Former Union Minister Farooq Abdullah also condoled the death of Sayeed and said he was deeply saddened by his death. CPI-M leader in the state Mohammed Yusuf Tarigami also condoled the death of Sayeed and said the state had lost a leader who had given valuable contribution for building peace in the region.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi also expressed grief over the demise of Mufti as she communicated her condolences to his wife, daughter Mehbooba Mufti and other well-wishers. In his death, the state of Jammu and Kashmir as indeed the entire nation has lost a great leader, she said. Recalling his long association with the Congress party, she said Mufti’s contribution as a humanist and to public life in various capacities will forever be remembered.BJP President Amit Shah said he was deeply saddened on hearing the news of Mufti’s death as he called him a rare politician. Many condolences to his family and supporters in this hour of grief, Shah said.

Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Nirmal Singh said the state will miss Mufti in its governance and political pursuits. It is a very sad news. We wanted him to guide us. Like he was doing in the last ten months. Now it has come as a great shock for the government as well as the state. He was a national leader. He was having a vision not only in terms of Jammu and Kashmir but also of India. It was his inclusive approach and it was for the first time that the people of Jammu and Kashmir were feeling that it was our government. This government which believes in transparency, it was here but unfortunately he is not amongst us. We were wishing early recovery for him but unfortunately this was not possible. It is very sad for us, he said.