July 2018 News

PDP Rift Widens, Two More MLAs Against Mehbooba Mufti

3 July 2018
The Indian Express
Naveed Iqbal

Srinagar: After former minister in Mehbooba Mufti cabinet Imran Reza Ansari indicated that he may leave the PDP following resentment against the party leadership, fissures in the party appeared to have deepened with at least two more PDP MLAs giving similar indications. Besides Imran and Abid Ansari, the MLA from Zadibal constituency, PDP's Tangmarg MLA Mohammad Abbas Wani and his counterpart from Noorabad, Abdul Majeed Paddar, have joined the chorus against the former chief minister. Meanwhile, amid conjecture on the PDP possibly aligning with the Congress for support to form the government, the Congress held a meeting of party MLAs and office-bearers in Srinagar on Tuesday, led by party general-secretaries Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ambika Soni. State Congress chief G A Mir subsequently said, 'In the current shape of J&K Assembly, the Congress will not align with any party.' Tangmarg legislator Wani said, 'Primarily, many party MLAs do not feel respected the same way as they did during Mufti Sayeed's time. We have told this to Mehbooba-ji time and again. I also spoke about this in the last Assembly session in February. Even after that, the party leadership made no effort to reach out to me, or ask other MLAs (about) their grievances.' Stating that he was among the party leaders who had recently met Mehbooba to convey his grievances, but failed to get a response, Majeed Paddar said he is ready to support 'any initiative that wishes to form government in the state', as 'Governor's rule is not in the best interest of people.' Wani said 10 party MLAs had met Mehbooba at her Fairview residence in May, urging her to 'not abandon the party', but, he added, she had not responded positively. Wani said, 'I told Mehbooba-ji (that) we are all upset. When Mufti-sahab was the leader of the party, every MLA felt they were close to him - he made you feel like that. But that has changed since she (Mehbooba) took over. I advised her to take a page off her father's book in keeping the party together.' Reiterating what Imran Ansari, the legislator from Pattan, had said on Monday, Wani said failure of the PDP-BJP coalition to complete its term was due to the CM's 'incompetence'. Senior PDP leaders Altaf Bukhari and Muzaffar Beig refused to comment on the rift in the party. State Congress chief G A Mir said, 'We believe Governor's rule should not be permanent. For now, we are holding discussions on the future course of action of the party.' He also said, 'J&K has a stringent anti-defection law, which is not there (even) at the national level. They should read the law first, but if they want to break the law, the Congress party will not support it.' 'We do not want it (the state) to be thrown into another chaos by way of horse-trading or rumour-mongering,' he said.