Sonia meets Mehboob, triggers tie-up speculations

PTI1_10_2016_000131B Congress President Sonia Gandhi along with party leader Ambika Soni arrives at the residence of late Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Sunday | PTI

In a meeting that is being seen as politically significant, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday visited PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti here to offer condolences on the demise of her father and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

Gandhi, who arrived from Delhi, drove straight from the airport to the Fairview residence of Mehbooba in Gupkar here at 3 pm. She stayed with the PDP president for about 20 minutes.

The Congress president was accompanied by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress general secretary Ambika Soni, state Congress chief G A Mir and party leader Saifuddin Soz. Mufti breathed his last on Thursday at AIIMS in New Delhi after undergoing treatment there since December 24.

The meeting is seen as politically significant as BJP, an ally of PDP, has yet not officially extended support to Mehbooba for the Chief Ministership after Mufti's demise.

Congress has earlier shared power with PDP between 2002 and 2008, with both parties having their Chief Minister on rotational basis after three years. They later had a bitter split in 2008.

Gandhi's flying into here to meet Mehbooba assumes significance as there are reports that PDP and BJP are bargaining afresh over the formation of a new government.

PDP has already given a letter to Governor N N Vohra, saying that all its 28 MLAs support Mehbooba for the Chief Ministership. But Mehbooba has reportedly said that she will not take oath till the end of mourning period for her father, which is the fourth day that falls on Sunday.

Vohra on Friday had asked both PDP and BJP to convey their position on the government formation. Since BJP did not convey its position, the Governor yesterday imposed the President's Rule in the state.

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