Stage set to induct Mehbooba’s brother into J&K cabinet

Srinagar: Decks are being cleared for Tassaduq Hussain Mufti, younger brother of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and the youngest son of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, to be inducted into the state cabinet. The sage is all set for junior Mufti to be bestowed with the coveted tourism portfolio currently held by the Chief Minister herself.

Tassaduq is reportedly being nominated for the membership of the state’s Upper House, Legislative Council, to pave the way for his induction into the cabinet. The party (PDP) has one seat vacant in its quota in the Upper House followingresignation of Vikramaditya Singh, son of Congress leader Dr Karan Singh. Singh had resigned last October protesting against the state government not declaring a holiday on his grandfather, Maharaja Hari Singh’s birthday.

The state government on December 15 sent its recommendation seeking Tassaduq’s nomination as member of the Legislative Council to Governor NN Vohra. The government had sought the cabinet approval to recommend his nomination as MLC to the Governor.Tassaduqresigned on December 15 as Coordinator of the Chief Minister’s grievances cell, a platform to address public grievances. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution, the Governor nominates eight members of the 36-member Upper House. Of these not more than three shall be persons belonging to any of the socially or economically backward classes in the state while others must have special knowledge or practical experience in respect of matters such as literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service.

Following the Governor’s nod, Tassaduqis likely to be inducted into the council of ministers. Tassaduq joined politics following his fathers’ death in January 2016. A cinematographer by profession, 45-year old Tassaduqwas fielded by PDP as its candidate for Anantnag Lok Sabha by-election scheduled on April 12 this year, which was deferred after violence marred the by-polls in Srinagar Parliamentary constituency on April 9. At least nine people were killed on the polling day. For the first time in the history, the Srinagar Parliamentary constituency witnessed just seven percent voting. Tassaduq was later appointed as Coordinator of the Chief Minister’s grievances cell. Tassaduq’s primary interest lies in environment, ecology and preservation of cultural heritage of Kashmir. He is best known for his outstanding cinematography in Bollywood movies like ‘Omkara’ and ‘Kaminey’. Tassaduq left Jammu and Kashmir in 1989 as a teenager and graduated from the American Film Institute. He is married to Radhika Kapur, an interior designer.

Political punditshere view his elevation as cabinet minister as an attempt to consolidate Mehbooba’s grip on the party which was founded by her father in 1999. Her maternal uncle andparty Vice President Sartaj Madni lost the 2014 state assembly election. Mehbooba was recently re-elected as party president for the sixth term. 

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