Will PDP survive the rebellion?

  • JAVAID MALIK
  • Publish Date: Jul 16 2018 2:27AM
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  • Updated Date: Jul 16 2018 2:27AM
Will PDP survive the rebellion?

A political storm has been created by the sudden rebellion within the Peoples Democratic Party after the party fell apart from its ally in the coalition government. Will the party survive the onslaught? Javaid Malik analyzes:

 

Rebels who have raised the banner of revolt against the Peoples Democratic Party leadership and the former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti seem to have gone on the front foot and there are serious possibilities of split in the PDP.

The MLA Noorabad, Abdul Majid Padder, who had openly criticized functioning of the party leadership later reportedly “buried the hatchet” and pledged his support to the PDP president Mehbooba Mufti. Padroo called on Mehbooba at her Fairview residence in Srinagar and gave the feelers to have “cleared the misunderstandings.”

After meeting the party president Padroo went in a silent mode to ensure that he doesn’t reveal to media what transpired during the one-on-one meeting. He just switched his phone off to avoid the queries.

But Friday’s press conference of the rebels proved that the feelers were short-lived.

Abid Ansari, who represents Zadibal constituency, was the first PDP legislator to stir the hornet’s nest after the fall of the PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir. He leveled serious allegations against the party leadership and accused the PDP president Mehbooba Mufti of promoting dynasty rule. He even claimed that 14 PDP MLAs are in touch with him and ready to leave the party. Soon after Abid’s outburst, his nephew Imran Ansari followed the suit and claimed that Peoples Democratic Party has turned into “Family Democratic Party.”

Imran said that he won’t meet the PDP president even if he is invited as he has “already said goodbye to the party.” Many people were made to believe that Imran is heading the splinter group of the party and he would play a key role in the government formation. Imran, who is the son of late Shia cleric Moulvi Ifthikar Ansari, remained very active and it looked like that he has already “struck a deal.”

A PDP leader said that after Abdul Majeed Padder, former minister and MLA Lolab Abdul Haq Khan also met the PDP president in Srinagar. Khan after being ousted from the council of ministers earlier this year had maintained distance from the PDP leadership and the speculations were making rounds that he is “disgruntled” and may leave the party. He too was counted among the rebels.      

On the other hand MLA Gulmarg Muhammad Abbas Wani, who had supported Imran and his uncle just after the PDP-BJP government crumbled, has taken a back seat. 

PDP MLA from Baramulla, Javed Beigh, who is the brother of the senior party leader and parliamentarian Muzaffar Beigh, while talking to the Kashmir Ink denied that he had attacked the PDP president Mehbooba Mufti for encouraging her family members. “I never said that Mehbooba ji promoted family raj during her tenure,” he said.

Beigh said that many MLAs like him, who are first-timers, don’t want the Assembly to be dissolved and want the government to be formed so that they could “do something for the people.” “The government can only be formed when there are requisite numbers,” he added.

Javed Beigh said that he was not in touch with any politician and no one has approached him to seek his support for the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Soon after Abid Ansari and Imran Ansari took on the PDP leadership head on, Javed Beigh also supported them. Five MLAs coming out in open against the PDP leadership has created a notion that PDP could be at the verge of split but after Mehbooba Mufti returned from New Delhi she tried to persuade the dissenters.

Mehbooba Mufti apparently tried to take care of the rebels’ concerns who could create more problems for her. “We don’t know about Imran and his uncle but other MLAs support the party president and would abide by her decision,” claimed a PDP leader.

The PDP MLAs who have joined the chorus with Imran and his uncle are understood to have conveyed to the party leadership that elected party leaders should be given responsible posts in the party and they should not be sidelined. “Had the PDP MLAs been running the party it would not have faced the crisis,” said a PDP leader.

Soon after Abdul Majeed Padder and Abdul Haq Khan met Mehbooba in Srinagar the PDP president chaired a crucial meet of her party leaders in the summer capital. Three leaders - Sartaj Madni, Naeem Akhter and Peerzada Mansoor Hussain - remained absent. They are considered to be close lieutenants of Mehbooba Mufti and were main decision-makers when PDP shared power with the BJP in the state. Mehbooba by keeping them away from the crucial party meeting sent a message to rebels that their suggestions were being considered. Apparently Mehbooba made an attempt to pacify the disgruntled leaders.

When the Kashmir Ink contacted Peerzada Mansoor to know the reason behind his absence from the crucial party meet he refused to comment.

Mehbooba Mufti going into damage control mode had made things difficult for Imran Ansari and his uncle. Both nephew and uncle are close to former minister and chairman of the Peoples Conference Sajad Gani Lone, who has reportedly been given a big role by the BJP to cobble up the numbers.

Recently senior BJP leader Subramaniyam Swamy pitched for Jammu and Kashmir having a Hindu chief minister. “There should be a Hindu chief minister in Jammu and Kashmir. If the Peoples Democratic Party has a Hindu or a Sikh member we can make that member the chief minister,” Swamy said.

The BJP leader argued that the tradition “imposed” by the former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of having only a Muslim chief minister in Jammu and Kashmir would not be accepted.

One of the PDP rebels who wished not to be named told the Kashmir Ink that if BJP keeps on insisting to have a Hindu CM then the MLAs who are thinking about saying goodbye to PDP would end up “committing a political suicide.”

According to the media reports the negotiations for having a new dispensation in place in J&K after Amaranth Yatra have hit a roadblock as the MLAs from Kashmir are opposing the BJP’s idea. “It looks like that BJP wants us to sacrifice our political careers to win the forthcoming parliamentary elections in India,” the rebel MLA added.

BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav has denied that any efforts are on to have a new dispensation in place, saying that BJP was OK with Governor’s rule. “BJP leaders from Jammu have been snubbed by the party high command for giving statements to media about the possible government formation,” said a Kashmir based BJP leader.

Soon after Madhav’s statement the BJP state president Ravinder Raina denied any role in horse-trading. “Our party leaders are not in touch with anybody outside the BJP fold. We are not seeking dissolution of the Assembly as we know it very well that it’s the prerogative of the Jammu and Kashmir Governor,” Raina said.  

Senior PDP leader Dr Mehboob Beg while talking to the Kashmir Ink said, “I don’t think any government would be formed in Jammu and Kashmir in the near future as all the parties are treading different paths.”

He claimed that reports about PDP being at the “verge of split” are just speculations and nothing more.

 

(Javaid Malik is Senior Editor Greater Kashmir and can be reached at malikjavaid123@gmail.com)