PDP president and Member of Parliament Mehbooba Mufti will head a two-member delegation representing the country at Haj.
Mehbooba Mufti, whose Kashmir-centric party shares power in J&K with the right-wing BJP, is the first woman to lead the Haj delegation of the country.
The other member of the delegation is a senior BJP leader from Madhya Pradesh, Anwar Mohammad Khan. The two-member delegation left New Delhi for Jeddah today.
“Mehbooba left Srinagar yesterday. She is heading the delegation,” said Peerzada Mansoor Hussain, political adviser to Mehbooba.
A official in the Haj Committee of India said the delegation would meet the Haj Minister of Saudi Arabia and would return on October 7.
In the past, the Haj delegation from the country used to comprise a large number of members. After the 2012 Supreme Court order, the government stopped sending big delegations.
Mehbooba won the parliamentary election last year from south Kashmir’s Anantnag-Pulwama constituency. She was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 2004. She has been responsible for the party’s success and dethroning the National Conference in 2002 and 2014 Assembly polls.
With Mehbooba heading the Indian delegation, there are clear indications of growing bonhomie between the PDP and BJP, which formed the government in J&K in March this year.
This year, 1,36,020 Indian pilgrims will perform Haj pilgrimage. Of them, 1,00,020 will participate through the Haj Committee of India and 36,000 through private tour operators.