Srinagar, Dec 9: Senior Peoples Democratic Party leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig would be sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister on Monday morning, the PDP confirmed on Sunday.
As reported by Greater Kashmir on Sunday, the PDP had formally recommended Baig's name for the Dy CM's position when Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad called on the PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed at his residence in Jammu on Saturday evening.
During the meeting Mufti conveyed Baig's name to the Chief Minister for re-induction as Dy CM. The PDP had recommended that Baig should be given portfolios of Planning, Law and Parliamentary Affairs, and Tourism.
PPD president Mehbooba Mufti said her party was for a long time waiting for the cabinet expansion, and when Azad called on Mufti "we recommended the name of Baig."
During his previous stint as the Dy CM, Baig, who represents Varmul constituency in the Assembly, held the portfolio of Finance, Planning, Law and Parliamentary Affairs. He was, however, stripped of the post in August 2006 following serious crisis in the PDP camp.
Tariq Hamid Qarra, the Minister of Law and Parliamentary Affairs, and Planning would be given the charge of Housing and Urban Development, government sources told Greater Kashmir.
Besides, they said, Qazi Muhammad Afzal, the former forest minister, would get back the ministry, from which he was removed after a serious scam surfaced. The Azad government had ordered a probe headed by Chief Secretary B R Kundal into the scam. Though Kundal has submitted his report, the findings have been kept under the carpet so far.
Sources said the government had to prepone Baig's oath-taking ceremony as the Congress leadership is yet to get the nod for its candidates from the high command in New Delhi. "Chief Minister Azad thrice planned meeting with the Congress president Sonia Gandhi regarding the expansion but it was cancelled at the last moment," a Congress leader said. He said it was necessary to seek the consent of the party high command for nominating a candidate for any portfolio.
The PDP, on the other hand, is tightlipped about portfolios it had recommended for Baig.
"We have written to the Chief Minister and have specified which ministries should be given to Baig," Mehbooba Mufti told Greater Kashmir. She refused to divulge the names of ministries, which the PDP has recommended for Baig.
The PDP president said recommending Baig's name had nothing to do with the coming Assembly session.
"There are only some months left for elections and we want that our positions should be filled as we want to do something for people," she added.