Cabinet reshuffle likely soon for Mehbooba Mufti ministry

Srinagar: The five-month-old Mehbooba Mufti government in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to be expanded soon with the induction of two PDP MLAs as ministers. The issue came up for discussion when Mehbooba Mufti called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday. Immediately afterwards, BJP president Amit Shah met her and the two were also understood to have discussed the issue.

As per the arrangement between the two parties, PDP would have 14 ministers, including the Chief Minister, while BJP would have 11, that would include the Deputy Chief Minister.

According to sources in the know of the developments, PDP MLA from Amira Kadal constituency Altaf Bukhari is likely to stage a comeback. Bukhari, who was a minister in the Mufti Mohammed Sayeed government, was not included in the cabinet when Mehbooba was sworn-in as the Chief Minister in April this year. Mehbooba was also likely to induct an MLA from the restive South Kashmir in the ministry.

Besides Bukhari, Javid Mustafa Mir and two Ministers of State Mohammad Ashraf Mir and Abdul Majeed Padroo, who were part of the previous government led by her father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, had been dropped.

The BJP was likely to drop one of its ministers and replace him with an MLA from the Kashmiri Pandit community, the sources said. The state can have a maximum of 25 ministers and its current strength is 23.