Mehbooba Mufti’s hollow rhetoric not enough to resurrect her political fortunes

Political analysts say Mufti is trying to shed the baggage of the past in a desperate bid to resurrect her lost political fortunes

Political analysts say Mufti is trying to shed the baggage of the past in a desperate bid to resurrect her lost political fortunes
Political analysts say Mufti is trying to shed the baggage of the past in a desperate bid to resurrect her lost political fortunes

Mehbooba Mufti growing restless ahead of polls

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president and former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti is growing restless ahead of the forthcoming Assembly elections in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

While addressing public and even closed-door meetings she is seen exploiting her ‘lung power‘ to the fullest and leaving no stone unturned while targeting the ‘Kashmir policy‘ of the Narendra Modi-led Union government.

Political analysts say she is trying to shed the baggage of the past in a desperate bid to resurrect her lost political fortunes.

The question is ever since the majority of senior PDP leaders deserted the party and joined other mainstream political outfits in search of greener pastures, shoring up her party’s image all alone is going to be a herculean task for the PDP Chief.

Left with only a handful of leaders in her camp, Mehbooba Mufti is also facing a credibility crisis.

Political compulsion forced her to join hands with arch rivals National Conference at the time of forming the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD).

Despite sharing the platform and appearing as one unit in front of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the constituents of the PAGD are yet to take a final call on whether to contest the Assembly polls unitedly or they will go to the people with their own party programs and slogans to win maximum seats for their respective political parties.

Following a difference of opinion within the PAGD, the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference party recently dropped clear hints that the party was in no mood to field a joint candidate during the maiden Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir and also made a public statement over contesting all 90 seats on their own.

PDP, the second main constituent of the PAGD was left with no choice but to chalk out its own course.

These days the PDP party leaders are holding regular public meetings in different parts of Kashmir valley and while demanding restoration of statehood also raking up the issue of granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Ironically, the same PDP is struggling to make inroads across the Jammu region.

In recent months JKNC president Dr. Farooq Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti made several trips to the Jammu region to keep their flock together as several senior leaders have already switched loyalties and joined new political formations to resurrect their own political careers.

NC suffered the biggest jolt last year after its Provincial president Devender Singh Rana, who also worked as a close aide of former chief minister Omar Abdullah switched loyalties and joined the ranks of the BJP. He was joined by another senior NC minister Surjeet Singh Slathia. A former minister Syed Mushtaq Ahmed Bukhari has also tendered his resignation from the basic membership of the party, citing his “untenable relationship” with the leadership over differences vis-a-vis “Pahari cause.”

Considered to be one of the tallest Pahari leaders from the Pir Panchal sub-region of Jammu region, Bukhari said that he had to sever his association with the party that lasted over forty years due to the party president’s “insistence upon” him to refrain from raking up the Pahari cause.

On the other hand, two-time PDP legislator and prominent Gujjar leader Zulfikar Choudhary, and former Sikh leader Manjeet Singh left PDP ahead of joining Jammu and Kashmir Apni party. Several other PDP leaders who stood rock solid behind Mufti Mohd Sayeed had also left the party accusing the top brass of the party of ignoring the interests of the Jammu region at the cost of retaining their core constituency in Kashmir valley.

Building a narrative against the BJP to regain lost support base

On ground zero she is attempting to win back the confidence of the common people and also building a narrative that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) snatched special status from the people of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019, and if the masses would support her in her fight she would bring back everything with interest.

Mehbooba is regularly slamming the BJP-led Centre stating that no matter how many troops are deployed in Jammu and Kashmir, the government would not see positive results until the Kashmir issue is resolved.

Why is Mehbooba Mufti targeting BJP?

To encash prevailing anger against the BJP the party leadership decided to target the BJP to regain the lost turf in the Kashmir valley, especially in their own strong bastion of South Kashmir districts.

Between March 2015 till June 2018 Peoples Democratic Party ran a coalition government in alliance with the Bharatiya Janta Party in Jammu and Kashmir. In the first innings, PDP Patron Mufti Mohd Sayeed led the alliance government and after his death, Mehbooba Mufti took over the power baton and joined hands with the BJP. However, her stint was cut short after the BJP decided to dump her and withdrew support to the alliance government in June 2018.

A year later the Union government bifurcated the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories and Abrogated Article 370 and 35-A on August 5, 2019.

As the mainstream politicians and separatists were isolated and put under house arrest the PDP leadership was blamed for joining hands with the BJP and introducing them to the corridors of power here in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mehbooba Mufti was slapped with charges of the Public Safety Act (PSA) as she remained in detention for a period of 14 long months. She was set free on 13 October 2020.

In comparison to another mainstream political party-the National Conference, the PDP top brass is making a conscious choice of standing up against the Union government to resurrect its political fortunes.

Now the question remains whether the party would be able to repeat its past performances or its shrinking voter base would reduce further sealing the fate of the PDP as a formidable option in Jammu and Kashmir.

1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

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  1. BJP is snatching (stealing) away all her privileges of govt accommodation – this is an act of “death of democracy / peace & revengeful act” in India, by BJP to deprive its living & “rationed” govt accommodation for the “Kashmiri born poor”
    It is another debate that anyone who lives at the same accommodation for 12 years, he has right to acquire / own it. By this principle, Mufti is eligible to put her claim & own it !! She being generous lady, is not doing it for love of the country


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