The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - C L .Manoj@ times­

New Delhi: As chief min­is­ter of Jammu and Kash­mir, PDP chief Me­hbooba Mufti will have to ac­quire a new po­lit­i­cal `av­tar’ and har­monise her hith­erto well­groomed per­sona to meet the chal­leng­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that has come to her as po­lit­i­cal head of a sen­si­tive bor­der state. Since the for­ma­tion of PDP17 years ago, Me­hbooba Mufti has po­si­tioned and re­mark­ably suc­ceeded as a fire­brand leader and party or­gan­iser who has spe­cialised in manag­ing the tricky po­lit­i­cal gallery of Kash­miri pol­i­tics. When­ever the PDP tried to bounce back to power, she worked as PDP’s front­line fighter against the rul­ing es­tab­lish­ments and with equal ease she po­si­tioned her­self as an ‘Op­po­si­tion leader’ in the PDP when­ever the party was part of a rul­ing ar­range­ment, pro­tect­ing it from the Op­po­si­tions’ at­tempts to weaken its po­lit­i­cal con­stituency.

Me­hbooba Mufti has po­si­tioned & re­mark­ably suc­ceeded as a fire­brand leader and party or­gan­iser

That cul­ti­vated space for her tra­di­tional po­lit­i­cal bal­anc­ing act shrunk sig­nif­i­cantly on Mon­day with her de­ci­sion to take the plunge af­ter three months of po­lit­i­cal re­luc­tance and ner­vous in­de­ci­sion. For the mo­ment, she has lit­tle op­tions other than car­ry­ing on with the jour­ney her fa­ther and po­lit­i­cal men­tor, Mufti Mohd Sayed, chose in the com­pany of BJP by con­sciously ac­cept­ing the in-built fault lines which he tried to po­lit­i­cally cam­ou­flage with a ro­man­tic phrase: “The com­ing to­gether of North Pole and South Pole.”

As Mufti Jr takes over as CM for the first time af­ter a po­lit­i­cal ca­reer stretch­ing al­most three decades, PDP’s friends and foes are cu­ri­ous to find out how she will deal with the tests ahead. As the party leader, many feel, she will be re­quired to ap­ply balm on the wounded sen­ti­ments of her Val­ley con­stituency since PDP is in al­liance with the BJP. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, as the chief min­is­ter of the al­liance gov­ern­ment, she will have to live with the con­trast­ing po­lit­i­cal and ide­o­log­i­cal vi­sions, per­spec­tive and pri­or­i­ties of the BJP. De­spite her temp­ta­tions to in­dulge in Delhi-bash­ing, the new CM, like all her pre­de­ces­sors, will have to es­tab­lish a work­ing re­la­tion­ship with the Cen­tre and the PM

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