Cracks In PDP As Co-Founder Muzaffar Baig Quits Party

Srinagar: Senior pro-India politician and former Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig on Saturday announced his disassociation from People’s Democratic Party (PDP) over the party’s seat sharing agreement with the constituents of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) for the upcoming district development council (DDC) polls.

Baig, who co-founded PDP with Mufti Mohammad Sayed in 1999, said that he has apprised party President Mehbooba Mufti about her resignation as a member and a patron of the party.

“NC is fighting on majority seats. It is not in the interests of the PDP. I respect Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and I wish them luck. I am leaving PDP on principle,” Baig said.

The former J&K Dy CM also said that he was not consulted regarding seat sharing agreement with PAGD affiliated parties.

When asked about his future course of action, Baig said that he will consult his friends and well-wishers about it. He is expected to address a news conference on Sunday.

An advocate turned politician, Baig started his political career in late 1970s with Abdul Gani Lone’s Peoples Conference (PC). However, his political stint came to a halt when he was appointed advocate general of J&K by the then Chief Minister Ghulam Mohammad Shah in 1983, who had floated Awami National Conference, after breaking ties with National Conference (NC), a party led by his brother-in-law Farooq Abdullah.

The 73-year-old season politician was conferred the third-highest civilian award — the Padma Bhushan by Modi-led BJP government in January this year, when most of the mainstream leaders, including his own party President and two other former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar were under detention.

Baig, a former Lok Sabha member from north Kashmir had also blamed her party Chief Mehbooba’s statement that no one will hold the tricolour in J&K if Article 370 is tampered with, for the downgrading of the state.

“Statements like that resulted in downgrading J&K from state to Union Territory. That did not help us. That should not have been made,” Baig had said.

“My opinion is that if you want to talk about issues relating to people of Jammu and Kashmir, you will have to talk in a dignified and civilised manner. You can’t achieve anything by coercing the Prime Minister, Home Minister or NSA,” he had added.

J&K Cong Says Not Joined PAGD Yet

Earlier Jammu and Kashmir unit of Congress party said it is not yet part of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration.

It, however, said it is in consultation with ‘like-minded parties’ for seat adjustments for the upcoming District Development Council elections in J&K.

The mainstream parties, including the National Conference, PDP, Peoples Conference and CPI(M), formed the PAGD last month and are fighting the maiden DDC elections together.

There are certain commonalities of issues with the parties of alliance (PAGD) against the arbitrary actions of the BJP government but the Congress is not yet part of the alliance.

The high-powered policy planning group of the party will review the situation to take a final call on the issue, at the appropriate time, after taking into account the aspirations and sentiments of the people, J&K Pradesh Congress Committee chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said in a statement here.

Senior Congress leaders participated in a series of PAGD meetings last week, both in Srinagar and Jammu, to finalise candidates under the seat-sharing for the DDC elections and the Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies (ULB) by-polls, which are scheduled to be held in eight phases from November 28 to December 24.

We are in consultation with certain like-minded parties for seat adjustments for the DDC elections, at the local level wherever possible, without compromising the aspirations of party cadres and the sentiments of people, Sharma said.

He said on the JKPCC request, the party leadership has permitted the unit to go for seat adjustments at the local level wherever possible for the DDC elections.

The process of consultations is going on at various levels in Kashmir region and in Jammu division to share the seats, wherever possible, depending upon local situations but there shall be friendly contests at various seats as adjustments are not possible at maximum seats at this later stage, as there are aspirations of a large number of party rank and file, Sharma said.

At the same time, the Congress leader said the party’s principles and the people’s sentiments would not be compromised at any cost.


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