In a significant development, governor NN Vohra on Friday nominated Tassaduq Hussain Mufti, the brother of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, as member of the Legislative Council.
A source told Greater Kashmir that Vohra cleared the proposal this afternoon after examining the response submitted by government to his queries related to Tassaduq's nomination.
"We submitted our reply to Raj Bhavan this morning. Later, the governor gave his nod to the nomination," the source disclosed.
The governor, he said, cleared the proposal after returning from Udhampur where he had gone to chair a sports event.
After getting the governor's nod, the law and parliamentary affairs department issued a notification, which read: "In exercise of the powers vested in me under sub-section (6) of section 50 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, I, NN Vohra, governor of Jammu and Kashmir, hereby nominate Tassaduq Hussain Mufti as member of the J&K legislative council against the seat available in the House."
The governor had earlier this week sought answers to certain questions from the government before accepting the recommendation, including whether the outcome of a writ petition filed in the High Court challenging the MLC nominations made in 2015 would have any implication on the nomination of Tassaduq.
Tassaduq, who worked as cinematographer, returned to the state after his father Mufti Muhammad Sayeed fell ill. He was introduced to the party and politics by his sister Mehbooba after Sayeed passed away in January 2016. He was also the PDP's candidate for Anantnag parliamentary segment where the election couldn't be held due to "volatile situation." Later, he was appointed as coordinator of chief minister's grievance cell, a platform set-up by the government for redressal of public grievances. He resigned from the position last week.
Tassaduq has been nominated against the seat that fell vacant following the resignation of ex-MLC Vikramaditya Singh due to his differences with the party. Tassaduq's term as member of the council would end on April 8, 2021 along with seven other nominated MLCs.
An official said that Tassaduq would soon be administered oath of office and secrecy as member of the House by chairman legislative council Hajji Inayat Ali.
With Tassaduq's nomination, the PDP's strength in the upper house has gone to 11.
PDP's alliance partner BJP has also an equal number of legislators in the house of elders. The opposition's total strength in the council is 12, with National Conference and Congress having six members each. Two seats of the 36-member House are vacant because of the non-holding of election to urban local bodies' of the state.
In the next 15 months, 10 seats of the upper house would fall vacant—four in December 2018 and six in March 2019.
As already reported by this newspaper, the government is set to induct Tassaduq and another sitting legislator from the PDP into the council of ministers.
As a prelude to the development, Syed Farooq Andrabi, minister of state in the Mehbooba Mufti-led government, had Thursday resigned from the council of ministers.
An official spokesman this evening said the governor accepted the resignation of Andrabi.
With Andrabi's resignation, the strength of the council of ministers has come down to 23—two short of the maximum strength of the council of ministers in J&K (25), permissible under the J&K Constitution.