Mehbooba Mufti warns Centre against splitting PDP

Asserting that politics of “disruption and manipulation” has never lasted long in J&K, former CM Mehbooba told a local daily that any misadventure would further destabilize the trouble-torn state


NH Web Desk

Amid growing speculations that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could engineer a split in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) after breaking away from its erstwhile ally, former Chief Minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has warned the Narendra Modi government against breaking any party for government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mehbooba, who has been facing a revolt within the party, asserted that politics of “disruption and manipulation” had never lasted long in the state. She said that any misadventure would further destabilize the already trouble-torn state. Even as the party stares at an existential crisis, as many as 21 party MLAs, out of 28, have met Mufti since Saturday and pledged their support to her.

“It (any attempt to break the parties) can have serious repercussions and will strengthen the forces calling for boycott of elections, as it will send out a message that mandate of the people is not being respected,” Mehbooba told a Jammu-based newspaper, Daily Excelsior. She refuted the reports that her party was staring at an existential crisis.

She told the daily that people have been watching Jammu and Kashmir with curiosity and New Delhi must ensure that faith and trust of the people was not shaken. “Any wrong move by Centre could destabilize the state,” she was quoted as saying.

However, BJP’s general secretary and its pointsman for Jammu and Kashmir, Ram Madhav, has rejected reports that his party was working to form a government with the help of rebel MLAs from other parties. He reiterated that his party was for Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir for the return of normalcy.

Political temperatures soared in the state last week after former separatist leader Sajjad Lone met BJP leaders, led by Ram Madhav, in Srinagar to discuss the “roadmap” for the restive state

After the BJP pulled out of the coalition government and Governor's rule was imposed in the state last month, the party leadership faced rebellion from at least six MLAs and an MLC.

Abid Ansari, who represents Srinagar's Zadibal constituency, was the first one to question Mufti's leadership. He was followed by his nephew and former minister Imran Ansari, MLA Tangmarg Abbas Wani, MLA Noorabad Abdul Majid Paddar, MLA Baramulla Javaid Beigh and MLC Yasir Reshi. Most recently, PDP MLA from Rajouri in Jammu region, Choudhary Qamar, has targeted party leadership.

Similarly, former Finance Minister and MLA Rajpora, Haseeb Drabu, has also been maintaining a distance from the party leadership after he was dropped from the cabinet earlier this year.

Imran Ansari, who has accused Mehbooba of nepotism, told PTI over phone that there was no question of going back on his stand on the former chief minister's leadership. “We have come out in public not for any concessions or personal gains. Our aim is to address the leadership problem,” he was quoted as saying.

Political temperatures soared in the state last week after former separatist leader Sajjad Lone met BJP leaders, led by Ram Madhav, in Srinagar to discuss the “roadmap” for the restive state.

Even though Jammu and Kashmir assembly has been put under suspended animation, party-hopping can’t be an option in the state that has a tougher anti-defection law when stacked against the law in other states.

According to the national law, if less than a third of the total elected representatives of a party defect or defy party whip at a time, they are disqualified.

But the J&K law is more stringent, according to constitutional experts. It states that even if all the MLAs of a particular party defy the party whip, they are liable to be disqualified.

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