July 2018 News

To Quell Dissent, All 6 PDP Office-bearers Quit

23 July 2018
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Majid Jahangir

Srinagar: Fearing a split in the Peoples Democratic Party, all six office-bearers of the party, including its vice-president and Mehbooba Mufti's maternal uncle Sartaj Madni, have put in their papers in a bid to silence the rebels and save the organisation from falling apart. The resignations come almost three weeks after dissension erupted in the Kashmir-centric PDP after many party leaders, including a former minister, accused Mehbooba Mufti of promoting 'family raj'. Many of these rebel MLAs had their reservations about the functioning of Madni. 'Yes, I have submitted my resignation as the vice-president. I resigned to ensure that the party gets more strength and stays united,' Madni told The Tribune. PDP chief spokesman Rafi Mir said that all office-bearers, including Madni, four general secretaries and a treasurer, had submitted their resignation. 'They have submitted their resignations before party president Mehbooba Mufti. These resignations are aimed at reorganising the party,' Mir said. There is a possibility that Mehbooba may restructure the PDP shortly after the party's foundation day on July 28. While the resignation of all office-bearers is significant, the resignation of Madni is seen as a first major attempt by the party to quell the brewing dissent. It is learnt that Mehbooba had asked Madni and general secretary Mansoor Hussain to resign in the wake of resentment expressed against them by party lawmakers and leaders during the recent interactions with the former Chief Minister. After the fall of the PDP-BJP government, at least five party MLAs - Imran Ansari, his uncle Abid Ansari, Abbas Wani, Javaid Baig and Abdul Majeed Paddar - and two MLCs Yasir Reshi and Saifudin Bhat have spoken against the party leadership and the alleged nepotism. Some of the rebels even fired salvos against senior PDP leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar and Mehbooba's brother Tassaduq Mufti. While Mehbooba has tried to reach out to party leaders after the dissent, the rebels have not come forward to meet her. The PDP rebels, however, are in touch with People's Conference leader Sajad Lone, triggering speculations about the government formation. Perturbed over these developments, Mehbooba had recently warned New Delhi of serious repercussions in case it attempted to split her party. Mehbooba last week also met senior party leader and Member of Parliament Muzaffar Baig and the two discussed the political situation and the ways to come out of the present crisis. Meanwhile, rebel MLA Javaid Baig said he never had any issues with Madni. 'I have issues with Mehboobaji, and I have made those public,' Javaid said. Another rebel MLA Majeed Paddar termed the resignation of Madni as a 'drama'. 'There will be no benefit from his resignation. He should have been thrown out of the party,' Paddar said.