Altaf Bukhari likely J&K CM: PDP leader is Valley's richest MLA, served as education minister in Mehbooba govt

Even as the PDP, the Congress and the National Conference on Wednesday revealed an alliance in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of the 19 December deadline to the Governor's Rule, senior PDP leader Altaf Bukhari seemingly emerged as the 'consensus' chief ministerial candidate.

"Very soon you will get good news," Bukhari said, speaking about the alliance.

Kashmir's richest legislator

Bukhari held the post of education minister in the erstwhile Mehbooba Mufti government. In March, he was given the additional charge of the finance ministry, after Haseeb Drabu was axed from the post over his remark that Kashmir was not a political issue.

Earlier, Bukhari held the portfolio of roads and buildings minister during the tenure of Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. According to News18, he was the richest candidate in 2014 Assembly election with assets worth Rs 84 crore. The 55-year-old holds a graduate degree in agriculture science from Government Agriculture College in Sopore.

In September 2018, the businessman-turned politician also welcomed the suggestion of Jammu and Kashmir Civil Society Coordination Committee for a tie-up between NC and PDP for the formation of the new government to defend the Article 35A and to fight communal forces.

When Bukhari was asked on Wednesday if he was in the running for the chief minister's post, he said, "There is no such thing. The chief minister will be from among the leaders. This issue is not about chief ministership".

He added that the alliance was being formed to address the Kashmir issue, and to protect the special identity of the state that "we have in the Constitution of India". "As elected representatives, we have to respond to the aspirations of the people and the emerging situation. Article 370 and Article 35A are under attack. This alliance is not being formed for being in power," he said.

Though the state Assembly is presently under suspended animation, the governor it would not be dissolved even if Jammu and Kashmir was placed under President's rule in December. This increases the chances of the NC-PDP-Congress alliance forming the next government.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Nov 21, 2018 19:14:35 IST

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