Bukhari’s Apni Party faces legitimacy crisis in Valley

Altaf Bukhari, who launched Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party ( JKAP), last week has raised many questions regarding the timing and relevance of the outfit

Bukhari’s Apni Party faces legitimacy crisis in Valley

Gulzar Bhat

While the opposition political parties see the new political formation in Kashmir as a plain creation of New Delhi, political observers and people of Valley say that the party lacks the legitimacy.

Altaf Bukhari, who launched Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party ( JKAP), last week has raised many questions regarding the timing and relevance of the outfit. Nearly a month after ruling dispensation did away Jammu and Kashmir with its special status and split it into two federally controlled territories, Modi led BJP government started wooing Kashmiri political leaders who ran afoul with their parties to form a new political platform in the Valley.

The belligerent leaders ,mostly from Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) were prodded into forming a new party hands down as the party had already been plagued by internecine disputes within its ranks after it tailored an alliance with right-wing BJP.

Bukhari finally succeeded in cobbling together more than 21 former lawmakers, mostly from PDP and NC, and launched JKAP.

" It is not Apni Party, but it is New Delhi's party", said National Conference Spokesperson, Imran Nabi Dar.

Dar said that these were the same leaders who formed PDP and now for their vested political interests came together and contrived another platform.

A PDP leader, who declined to be quoted in this report, described the party as a band of turn coat politicians.

"No seasoned political leader has thus far joined Bukhari led JKAP. There was hardly any need of such a political party" he added.

State Congress Chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir told National Herald that JKAP was the extension of BJP.

" After the death of Mufti Mohammad Syed, Bukhari helped Mehbooba to re-stich an alliance with BJP. He is a lovely boy of BJP", Mir said.

After Modi government's August 5 move, the police went on an arrest spree and collared hundreds of political leaders from pro-India political parties in both Jammu and Kashmir.

However, Bukhari and some other leaders in his camp have not been kept out of circulation by the authorities.

Last October, former deputy Chief Muzafar Hussain Beigh and Bukhari hogged headlines after they attended a luncheon hosted by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval for 27 member European lawmakers, who were a day later taken for a trip to Kashmir.

Beigh's and Bukhari's presence had made it clear that both the leaders would be the part of BJP's new political outreach to Kashmir.

However, it took many aback as Beigh did not join Bukhari's new political venture on last Sunday. Sources privy to the development told National Herald that Beigh wanted to lead the newly minted party, but it was not palpable to most of the leaders within the party.

As the political leaders of key regional political parties are still under detention, the political observers believe that JKAP is all set to face legitimacy crisis in Valley.

" Its legitimacy could be called into question as the party was formed at a time when the popular political leaders including three Chief Ministers are under detention", said Shahnawaz Ahmad, a Valley based political observer.

Ahmad pointed out that the nature of politics has now changed in both Jammu and Kashmir and New Delhi, and he did not think if this new party could bargain with New Delhi the way NC and PDP did.

A dozen- odd local resident who were interviewed by this reporter for this article see no relevance of JKAP in the current political situation.

" There were enough impregnable and cadre based political parties in Jammu and Kashmir and we all know their the fate now. I don't think this new party could be able restore the lost honour and dignity of the people of Jammu and Kashmir", said Javed Ahmad Bhat, a local business man, adding that such parties have no relevance in today's Kashmir.

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