JEHANGIR ALI | 6 JANUARY, 2019
Another One Bites the Dust
Mehbooba Mufti unable to stop PDP disintegration
SRINAGAR: Peoples Democratic Party chief and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s worries of a vertical split in her party are far from over with another prominent leader calling it a day.
Javaid Mustafa Mir, who remains undefeated from Chadoora constituency of Budgam district since 2002, has ended his association with the PDP, the party with which he started his political career.
“I will send my resignation letter to the party today. I will not comment anything more on the issue for the time being,” Mir, who was the prominent face of the PDP in central Kashmir, told The Citizen.
Mir, who served as a revenue minister in PDP-BJP coalition government when late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was the chief minister, was a vocal critic of the alliance and had, on many occasions, taken on the Hindu rightwing leaders inside and outside the state assembly.
Mir, however, was dropped from the cabinet when Mehbooba Mufti took over as the chief minister in 2016. There were rumours at the time that the expulsion of Mir, who had reportedly ordered an inquiry into illegal grant of state subject certificates to non-state subjects in Jammu, was orchestrated by the BJP.
However, he was again inducted into the cabinet in December 2017, though with an ‘insignificant’ ministry, when Mehbooba effected a reshuffle and brought her brother, Tasaduq Mufti, into the government, months before the BJP pulled the plug.
“The difference between him (Mir) and the party continued to grow after his unceremonious expulsion. Even though he was nominated to the PDP’s Political Affairs Committee, he maintained distance from the party affairs and skipped crucial meetings and functions,” sources close to Mir said.
The exit of Mir, whose father Mustafa Mir, a former legislator, was killed in March 1990, is another setback for the PDP chief who is clearly struggling to keep the flock together after losing power.
Mir has become the seventh prominent leader and former lawmaker to quit the party after the BJP pulled out of the alliance. Others who have already resigned from the party include Basharat Bukhari, Imran Ansari, his uncle Abid Ansari, Haseeb Drabu, Muhammad Abbas Wani and Yasir Reshi.
While Bukhari, brother of the assassinated journalist Shujaat Bukhari, has joined National Conference and is likely to be fielded from his Sangrama constituency, the Ansaris have joined BJP ally Sajad Lone-led Peoples Conference.
With the state assembly elections few months away, the party’s fortunes are tanking, particularly after the demise of its founder Mufti Sayeed in 2016. Soon after the BJP withdrew support to the coalition on June 19 last year, a rebellion led by Imran Ansari, who was the sports minister in the coalition government, hit the party.
Last month, former top bureaucrats, Bashir Ahmad Runiyal and Mehboob Iqbal and former police officer Raja Aijaz Ali also resigned from the party. There are rumours that more PDP leaders may be quitting the PDP in coming days which is giving sleepless nights to the party leadership.