Tassaduq Mufti, son of Mufti Mohd Sayeed, missing in action
Five MLA’s including former cabinet Ministers Dr. Haseeb Drabu, Moulvi Iftikhar Ansari already walked out of the party
Ahead of the Assembly elections in the state of Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Mehbooba Mufti is gradually losing grip over her party machinery in the state.
In the recent days as many as five senior party leaders including two former cabinet ministers, Dr. Haseeb Drabu and Moulvi Iftikhar Ansari have already resigned from the party. Former MLA’s Abid Ansari, Abbas Wani also called it quits last week raising question marks over her leadership.
Former IPS officer, Raja Aijaz Ali, is the latest entry in the list of disgruntled party leaders who have decided to jump the sinking ship at this crucial juncture.
For the time being other party leaders are keeping their cards close to their chest.
Following these political developments, PDP Chief had convened a meeting of the party leaders and decided to name a founding member of the PDP and sitting MP Muzaffar Hussain Baig as party patron.
The decision was taken to prevent leaders from jumping the party bandwagon. Interestingly, Baig himself was not happy with the decision making body of the party under the command of Mehbooba Mufti.
He, himself, had raised banner of revolt against Mehbooba Mufti over poor handling of the affairs of the government and promoting members of her own ‘kitchen cabinet‘.
His criticism had created a piquant situation for PDP chief after which she had decided to join hands with the National Conference and Congress and shown her willingness to form an alliance govt to defeat BJP’s machinations of anointing Sajjad Lone as Chief Minister with support of rebel PDP MLA’s.
Speculations are rife that disgruntled PDP leaders are set to join hands with the Peoples Conference Chief Sajjad Lone in the coming months.
Though no formal announcement has been made so far but these leaders are learnt to have discussed broader contours of their future engagement and are expected to join hands together only after the formal announcement of Assembly polls in the state.
The drift started soon after Mehbooba Mufti found herself stranded midway after BJP decided to pull the plug and walked out of the alliance in the month of June 2018.
Though she knew her association with the BJP was not going to last long but she too was caught unawares when faced with the reality.
Mehbooba was attending to her routine office work when she was informed about the decision of the alliance partners by the office of Governor. She was left with no other option but to tender her resignation.
After Governor’s rule was imposed in the state Mehbooba Mufti faced open rebellion in the party.
A group of party legislators even threatened to dump her before agreeing to the proposal of forming an alliance government with BJP under the leadership of Sajjad Lone.
Though Mehbooba managed to prevent vertical split in the party but since then she is constantly losing grip over the party machinery with every passing day.
Her younger brother, Tassaduq Mufti, who was inducted in the state cabinet last December, has already vanished from the political scene of the state. He is yet to make any public appearance after the fall of the government. He is seldom seen by the side of his sister especially during party meetings.
On ground several party leaders, especially from South Kashmir are facing the heat of public anger. While Mehbooba Mufti was holding the charge even then people had resented her decision to forge an alliance with the BJP.
Inside reports revealed even Mehbooba Mufti is contemplating shifting her base from Anantnag assembly constituency ahead of the polls. She has requested some of her close confidantes to zero in on a safe constituency from where she could fight next Assembly polls.
The situation in South Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama was not conducive for holding polls and in case decision is taken Mehbooba Mufti cannot afford to take a risk of contesting from the area and end up losing her own seat in the wake of unrest in the area and on account of poor voting.
After breaking her ties with the BJP, PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti has now started accepting the reality.
Commenting on the reasons behind forging an alliance with the BJP in first place Mehbooba Mufti recently told an audience, “PDP had an alliance with the BJP knowing it will be ‘suicidal’ and damage them politically but the PDP went for it to bring Kashmiris out of the mess, they’re in”.
“My father late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who became the Chief Minister of the State after PDP and BJP forged an alliance in March 2015, had a great vision. He wanted the political process started by (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee Ji to be taken forward by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We thought though it will damage us politically, we will be able to take Kashmiris out of the mess they’re in. That was the real purpose. We staked everything but Modi dejected the Kashmiris,” Mehbooba said while addressing a function organized by Observer Research Foundation (ORF) on the topic “Kashmir-The Way Forward’.
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