New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, a crafty politician who took on the powerful Abdullah family and rose to become the country’s first Muslim Home Minister, died today at AIIMS here after his platelets dropped dangerously.
Sayeed, 79, who took charge of the state on March 1 last year heading a PDP-BJP alliance, breathed his last this morning after remaining on ventilator for the past few days.
He was flown from Srinagar in a special plane on December 24 and admitted to the AIIMS where he was diagnosed with sepsis (life threatening complication of an infection) and pneumonia. During hospitalisation his platelets had dropped dangerously, doctors said.
He is the second J and K Chief Minister to die in office, the first one being Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah who died on September 8, 1982.
Sayeed’s daughter 56-year-old Mehbooba is expected to take over as the first woman Chief Minister of the state with PDP leaders throwing their weight behind her. But this will require the approval of BJP.
Sayeed is survived by his wife, three daughters and a son.
Jammu and Kashmir government has declared a seven-day mourning and holiday today. Flags will be flown at half mast.
The mortal remains of the Chief Minister would be flown to Srinagar where the body will be kept for people to pay homage. He is likely be buried in his ancestral village Bijbehera in South Kashmir, about 48 kms from Srinagar.
Condoling the death of Sayeed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it left a huge void in the nation and that the leader who provided a healing touch would be missed.
“What stood out about Mufti Sahab was his statesmanship. In his long political journey he won many admirers across the political spectrum,” Modi said.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh will be flying to Srinagar to attend Sayeed’s funeral.