Mufti family takes ‘exceptional’ step, vacates CM’s bungalow in Jammu and Kashmir

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Political uncertainty has deepened in Jammu and Kashmir it emerged that the wife of the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had vacated the official bungalow of the chief minister in Jammu city.

This, according to many analysts, virtually rules out any possibility of the PDP forming the government in the valley in near future.

News agency PTI reported that Begum Gulshan, wife of the late leader and mother of Mehbooba Mufti, had vacated the bungalow at Wazarat Road in Jammu city on 18 January, just 11 days after Sayeed’s demise, taking away the family belongings.

“Mufti Sahab ceased to be the Chief Minister and on 18th of this month, the family got its all personal belongings from that house in the best traditions of public conduct,” PDP spokesman and former Minister Naeem Akhtar was quoted by PTI.

Akhtar, however, clarified that there was nothing ‘political about it.’

He said, “This is a normal practice..Mufti Sahab had always batted for this. It is the designated house of the Chief Minister. How can someone who is not a Chief Minister stay there?”

This assumes significance as Mehbooba was widely tipped to be the next chief minister because of the PDP with 27 MLAs being the largest party in the state.

PDP, which formed an alliance with the BJP, had run a 10-month coalition government headed by Sayeed before his demise on 7 January.

The government officials, responsible for allocating accommodation to state ministers say the development has left them surprised.

According to rules, official accommodation can be retained for one month after a person ceases to be the Chief Minister, said an official of the state government.

An official of the Estates Department responsible for allocation of government accommodations said, “Whatever may be technicalities, they have taken all of their belongings. That means that they have vacated it. This is an exceptional case… Mufti sahib’s wife had come to official CM’s residence and took away all of the family belongings.”

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