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Brother Tassaduq’s induction may help Mehbooba tighten her grip over PDP

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A cinematographer by profession, 45-year-old Tassaduq served as the coordinator of the CM’s grievance cell until he took oath as minister Thursday

New Delhi: The induction of Tassaduq Hussain Mufti into the Jammu and Kashmir cabinet is being seen as an attempt by the Mufti family to tighten its grip over the PDP, which is ruling the state in alliance with the BJP.

A cinematographer by profession, 45-year-old Tassaduq served as the coordinator of the CM’s grievance cell until he took oath as minister Thursday. He has been given the tourism portfolio, currently held by chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, his elder sister.

Thought to be a reluctant politician, Tassaduq had been away from the state’s political scene until his father Mufti Sayeed fell ill.

Eventually, he had joined the Mehbooba-led PDP on the first death anniversary of Sayeed in January this year.

He was fielded as the PDP candidate for the Anantnag Lok Sabha bypoll, which has been deferred due to security concerns.

A young politician with a clean image, Tassaduq, however, made news on the first day itself. He was trolled on social media after he swore in the name of ‘dog’ — although accidentally — instead of ‘god’ while taking oath of office Thursday.

Mehbooba, known for her soft approach to separatists, was initially undecided about the alliance with BJP. Tassaduq stayed back while voices were growing within the PDP to join hands with the BJP and to fill the void created by Mufti Sayeed’s death.

“He cannot be Mufti Sayeed. He is just a new talent. There can be no comparison between him and his father,” PDP leader and education minister Altaf Bukhari told ThePrint.

“But let us give him a chance to prove himself. I wish him all the best,” Bukhari added.

Tassaduq pursued a course in cinematography in Los Angeles. Tassaduq is known for his work in two Bollywood movies — Omkara and Kaminey, both directed by Vishal Bhardwaj.

With his apolitical background, Tassaduq has been projected as a generous politician. He went on to connect to the grassroots cadre in the PDP bastion of South Kashmir, which saw a violent summer in 2016.

He had also been working closely with the youth wing of the PDP after he became coordinator of the CM’s grievance cell.

Tassaduq may prove to be a trump card for Mehbooba while dealing with her shaky alliance over contentious issues like Article 370 and Article 35-A, sources said.

However, his induction into the J&K cabinet has also provided ammo to the opposition to attack PDP for promoting what it calls dynasty politics.

PDP, like its alliance partner BJP, has been very vocal about providing an “alternative to dynasty politics”.

The National Conference has also accused the PDP of running two parallel power centres.

“We have a gentleman who has been issuing orders to the state administration on

WhatsApp groups for months and literally ran away in the most disgraceful and cowardly manner from an election he was set to lose by a huge margin,” NC state spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu had said.

“The same gentleman will now be another parallel to chief minister in a state government that has at least five different de-facto chief ministers, including a few from the Mufti family itself,” Mattu added.

The youngest of the four siblings and the only son of Mufti Sayeed, Tassaduq was nominated to the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council on 22 December against a seat that fell vacant after Vikramaditya Singh, the grandson of former Dogra ruler of the state, Maharaja Hari Singh, resigned recently.

Tassaduq, father of two, is known to be close to Mehbooba and her two daughters.

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