About Mufti Mohammad Sayeed
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, a seasoned People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader, was the 12th Chief Minister of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. He assumed office on 1 March, 2015. That was the second time Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was sworn-in as the CM of the state. Sayeed had first held this office between 2 November 2002 and 2 November 2005.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed became the unanimous choice for the CM”s post after the two biggest parties in the Assembly Elections of 2014, the PDP and the BJP, reached an agreement to form a coalition government. Sayeed was administered the oath as the Chief Minister by the Governor of the state, Narinder Nath Vohra. Nirmal Singh, the experienced BJP campaigner in J&K, was sworn-in as the Deputy Chief Minister of the state. A total of 25 ministers took oath in a ceremony that was graced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah and senior BJP leaders like L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi.
A senior leader and founder of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), Mufti Mohammad Sayeed contested from the Anantnag constituency in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Elections 2014. Sayeed won the Anantnag assembly seat with 16,983 votes, while Hilal Ahmad Shah of Congress, who got 10,955 votes, was the runner-up. Sayeed's chances of winning the elections had gotten a major boost when his main political opponent, Mehboob Beig of the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference (JKNC), who had been contesting from the same seat, gave up his party membership. Beig pledged to help Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in every possible way, including participating in door-to-door campaign for him. After his daughter Mehbooba Mufti, also the president of the PDP, said that the contest would be between the PDP and the BJP, the PDP patron started targeting the BJP instead of other political parties. In a likely reference to the BJP's stand on Article 370 and its extending of hands to former separatist leaders in the state, Sayeed said that some forces had been trying to dilute J&K’s distinct identity.
Early Life of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was born in Baba Mohalla of Bijbehara, Jammu and Kashmir, on 12 January 1936. He graduated and obtained a law degree from SP College in Srinagar. He went on to obtain his Master’s degree in Arab History from Aligarh Muslim University.
The present PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed, is one of his daughters. His third daughter Rubaiya Sayeed came in news within five days of Mufti’s swearing in as the Union Home Minister in 1989. She was kidnapped by the militant outfit Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and freed only after the Central Government released five of its compatriots. This episode changed the political dynamics in the state completely.
Political Career of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed started his political career in the late 1950s when he joined the Democratic National Conference (DNC). Sayeed held his first formal post under the membership of the DNC when he was appointed as the District Convenor of the party. In 1962, Sayeed was elected from Bijbehara to the state legislative assembly. He retained this seat in the succeeding elections five years later.
Consequently, DNC’s chief, Ghulam Mohammed Sadiq, appointed him as his deputy.
However, a few years later, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed fell out with the party leaders and joined the Indian National Congress (INC). He was considered as one of the few leaders in Jammu & Kashmir who made the INC a major political force in the state and the main opposition to the DNC.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed became a cabinet minister in the Congress government in 1972. He was also appointed as the president of the Pradesh Congress and the leader of the Congress Legislature Party. His political career saw a steep downturn when he lost two consecutive elections. However, being a masterful politician and skillful administrator, Sayeed continued his good work and organised the people to uproot the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) government in 1984. Sayeed was handed the portfolio of Tourism and Civil Aviation in the Union Cabinet by the then Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, in 1986. Sayeed’s association with the Congress came to an end in 1987 when he joined Jan Morcha, which was led by V. P. Singh. Subsequently, he went on to become the Union Home Minister in 1989.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed joined the Congress again when it was led by Narasimha Rao. However, he parted ways with the party in 1999 and went on to form his own party in the same year. He named his party as the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party (JKPDP). After its formation, his political career reached new heights. In 2002, Sayeed became the Chief Minister of the state. His party won 16 assembly constituencies and formed an alliance with the INC to assume state power from November 2002 to November 2005.
By 2004, the PDP had one MP in the Rajya Sabha and one MP in the Lok Sabha. It was an important ally of the United Progressive Alliance-I. The prospects of Sayeed’s party started to shine again in the Lok Sabha election of 2014 when it won three of the six parliamentary seats of the state. The PDP underlined its performance of the Lok Sabha elections by winning 28 of the 87 assembly seats of the state – the most by any party in the elections. The PDP formed a government by allying with the second best party, the BJP. Subsequently, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed assumed the office of the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir for the second time on 1 March 2015.
Mufti's Second Stint as the Jammu & Kashmir CM
Mufti's second stint as the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir was brief and stormy. His alliance with the BJP became a constant source of criticism for the opposition. Mufti was blamed for letting the RSS make inroads into the state. However, the party veteran maintained that the alliance was a unique opportunity for different sections to come together and pave the way for development in the state.
The chief minister faced difficult questions following the release of separatist leader Masarat Alam. However, this situation was resolved when Alam was re-arrested for waving the Pakistani flag and raising Pakistani slogans. Sayeed faced his next challenge with the eruption of the two-flag controversy. However, the state High Court's order to allow hoisting of the state flag put this controversy to rest. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a package of Rs. 80,000 crore for the state to honour its alliance with the PDP in J&K.
Mufti had been a strong advocate of resumption of dialogues between India and Pakistan. He headed the PDP-BJP alliance in a politically mature and deft manner. He passed away on 7 January, 2015 due to multi-organ failure at the AIIMS hospital in New Delhi. He was 79.
Last Updated on June 30, 2020