Gadkari, Sonia meet Mehbooba, condole Sayeed’s death

Srinagar: Union minister Nitin Gadkari and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Sunday met PDP president Mehbooba Mufti here and condoled the death of her father and Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

Gadkari, however, dismissed speculation that political issues were discussed during his meeting with Mehbooba Mufti a day after Governor’s rule was imposed in the state, which is without a government after Sayeed’s death in New Delhi’s AIIMS hospital on January 7.

Sayeed had led an alliance government of the Peoples Democratic Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“I have come to offer my condolences to the family on behalf of the government of India and no political issues were discussed during my visit to the bereaved family,” Gadkari said.

A Congress spokesman said Sonia Gandhi also visited the family to offer her condolences and no political issues came up when she met Mehbooba Mufti.

Gandhi was accompanied by party leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, a former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and now a parliamentarian, and Ambika Soni.

Both Gadkari and Sonia Gandhi are scheduled to return to New Delhi on Sunday.

Mehbooba Mufti has invited PDP leaders and party legislators to dinner on Sunday at her family residence on Gupkar Road in Srinagar to express gratitude for the support during their bereavement, a PDP leader.

The PDP leader said no political issues would be discussed during the dinner.

Speculations were rife that Mehbooba Mufti had proposed some conditions to Gadkari for heading the likely future PDP-BJP coalition government.

“There is no truth in those rumours. Bereavement is not the time to discuss politics or future coalition for Mehbooba ji,” the PDP leader said.

Earlier on Sunday, congregational prayers were held at Sayeed’s grave in Bijbehara town of Anantnag district.

Mehbooba Mufti also visited her father’s grave on Sunday, where she was seen breaking down.