Party leaders’ air grievances, want to be taken on board on key decisions
Mehbooba tells leaders to reach out to masses, gear up for Assembly polls
Fighting rebellion, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti Monday chaired a meeting of party leaders and appointed disgruntled leader and MP Muzaffar Hussain Baig as patron of the party.
Sources in the party told Rising Kashmir that the meeting was called in the backdrop of growing dissent in the party since the fall of the PDP-BJP coalition government in June this year.
Since dissolution of Assembly by Governor Satya Pal Malik on November 21, four former PDP lawmakers—Hasseb Drabu, Imran Ansari, Abid Ansari and Mohammad Abbas Wani—have resigned from the party.
Sources said in today’s meeting, all the party leaders including Muzzafar Hussain Baig and his brother Javed Baig expressed concern on the key decisions being taken by a select few and keeping leaders out of the decision-making forum within the party.
As per sources, Baig told the meeting that he had a grudge against the party for keeping him out of the affairs by sending him to Lok Sabha.
Baig is said to have told the meeting that he has no other issues with the party leadership except being kept out of the decision making including the decision to boycott the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) and panchayat elections in the State.
PDP chief spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir told Rising Kashmir that party president Mehbooba Mufti at the end of the meeting nominated Muzzafar Hussain Baig as patron of the party.
"Mehbooba told the meeting that Baig founded the PDP along with late Mufti Sayeed and thus deserves to be the patron as he (Mufti) isn't with us,” he said.
Sources said all leaders spoke “brazenly” against the functioning of the party affairs, which in past months have led to rebellion from within.
A leader present in the meeting told Rising Kashmir that party leaders unanimously endorsed the PDP President’s statement justifying the alliance with rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party in the State.
“Mehbooba also announced that the former MLAs, who didn’t desert the party, will be given the party tickets in the next elections,” he said adding some leaders including Nizamuddin Bhat was also nominated to fight from Bandipora despite him losing the last time around.
The meeting also asked the party leaders to gear up the cadre for the next assembly and parliament elections.
The leaders in the meeting complained about losing minimal but crucial space to smaller parties especially in north Kashmir.
The meeting was also attended by senior PDP leader Javed Mustafa Mir, who has been in news after rumours about him deserting the party had surfaced recently.
According to sources Mir, three-time MLA from Chadoora assembly segment, during the meeting complained to the party leadership about not being given enough space to express views on the party’s policies.
Senior PDP leader and former minister Syed Basharat Bukhari was conspicuous by his absence from the meeting.
However, sources said Bukhari called through a phone call informed the party leader about his inability to attend the meeting owing to a shutdown.
Another senior party leader told Rising Kashmir that the party leaders present in the meeting while affirming their support to the party and leadership unanimously seconded the party president on the decision of the party to align with BJP.
“The meeting also decided to keep the united front with other regional parties open on the issue of safeguarding the special status of the state,” he said adding the meeting also decided to more vehemently criticize the recent “anti-state” decisions of the Governor administration.
The PDP chief spokesman Rafi Ahmed Mir said the party also decided to actively garner the party cadre for the assembly and parliament elections.
"The party leaders have been asked to galvanize the party workers for the elections so that a message will go to the grassroot level re-emphasizing the party's agenda," he said.