Mehbooba Mufti, born on May 22, 1959, is a prominent Indian politician known for her resilience, dedication to public service, and her significant role in the complex political landscape of Jammu and Kashmir. As the first female Chief Minister of the state and a dynamic leader, her life's journey has been marked by challenges, achievements, and unwavering commitment to the welfare of her people.Who is the daughter of Mehbooba Mufti?
Mehbooba Mufti was born into a politically influential family. She is the daughter of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Gulshan Ara and was born in the town of Akhran Nowpora in Jammu and Kashmir. Her early years were characterised by her innate passion for the environment and animals, as well as her dedication to the causes that would later define her political career.
She pursued her education in English literature at the Government College for Women in Jammu and later obtained a law degree from the University of Kashmir. Her academic background not only equipped her with the knowledge to navigate the complex world of politics but also reflects her commitment to education and personal growth.
Mehbooba Mufti has two daughters, Iltija and Irtiqa, and her personal life reflects her nurturing and caring nature. Her ex-husband, Javed Iqbal, a political analyst and animal rights activist, briefly associated with the National Conference party, adding another layer of political depth to her personal life.
Mehbooba Mufti's entry into politics was shaped by her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who played a pivotal role in Jammu and Kashmir politics. In 1996, she was elected as a member of the state assembly from Bijbehara, contesting on an Indian National Congress ticket. Her father's return to the Congress party, after having left it in 1987, further solidified her political journey.
Her early years in politics were marked by her role as the leader of the opposition in the state assembly, where she effectively challenged the government of Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah. Her dedication and ability to take on established political figures hinted at her potential as a future leader.
Over the years, Mehbooba Mufti continued to make her mark in Indian politics. She contested parliamentary elections in 1999 from Srinagar, and despite not securing a victory, her determination remained undeterred. She went on to win the Pahalgam seat in the state assembly from South Kashmir in 2002. Later, she was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Anantnag seat in 2004 and again in 2014, defeating incumbent member Mirza Mehboob Beg in the latter.
After her father's passing in January 2016, when he was leading the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti forged ahead with the same alliance, forming a government with the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). On April 4, 2016, she was sworn in as the first female Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
Mehbooba Mufti's tenure as Chief Minister was marked by various challenges, particularly in the context of the alliance between the PDP and the BJP. The alliance faced a significant rift in 2018 when two BJP ministers expressed public support for a man accused of raping and killing an eight-year-old girl in Kathua District. Following this, the BJP withdrew from the alliance, leading to Mehbooba's resignation as Chief Minister.
Her government's attempt to suspend security operations during Ramadan did not yield the expected results, and security conditions continued to deteriorate. The resignation marked a significant point in her political career as she emphasised that a "muscular policy" would not work in Kashmir.
Mehbooba Mufti contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from the Anantnag seat but lost to Hasnain Masoodi of the National Conference.
In August 2019, following the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status, Mehbooba Mufti was detained by the Central government. Her detention was marked by a notable development – her daughter Iltija Mufti took over her mother's Twitter account, becoming her voice during this trying period.
In February 2020, she was further detained under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act. Her release came in October 2020 after the Supreme Court of India questioned the length of her detention.
Mehbooba Mufti's continued involvement in the political landscape of Jammu and Kashmir reflects her resilience, commitment to the region's welfare, and her enduring role as a prominent leader. Her journey has been a testimony to her dedication to the people and her unwavering pursuit of justice and peace in one of India's most complex and sensitive regions.