PC Disowns Muzaffar Baig 3 Months After He Joined Party

Srinagar: Senior Peoples Conference (PC) leader Imran Ansari on Tuesday courted controversy after claiming that former Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister, Muzaffar Hussain Baig was never part of the party and that what he stated during and after PM Modi’s all party meet last week was his (Baig’s) personal opinion and not that of the PC.

Imran Ansari, who is PC’s General Secretary, said that Baig had never joined the Peoples Conference and was not even a member of the party, contrary to the PC’s tweet on March 17 this year announcing Baig joining the party fold.

“It is with great pleasure we announce that one of the towering leaders of the state Mr. Muzaffar Hussein Baig is now a part of the party from where he started his political journey. It is a nostalgic and a proud moment for all of us,” PC had posted on its official Twitter handle with a picture showing Lone shaking hands with former Deputy CM.

“He has a very long association with our family. He also started his political career with Peoples Conference. So, as a nephew, I along with my colleagues came to meet Baig Sahab and asked him for my right. He has given me the rights which I duly deserve,” Lone told reporters outside Baig’s Srinagar residence.

However, Imran Ansari said that Lone visited Baig’s residence only after being sure and convinced that the wanted him to visit his residence and was looking forward to welcome him.

“Politics was discussed there and he was very thankful to PC for getting Safina Ji elected as DDC chairperson,” Imran said.

He also claimed that PC helped Beigh’s wife to become the DDC Chairperson from Baramulla, where his party has 3 members.

Even though we had aspirations within our camp for the post of the chairmanship, but she came to me and requested me that we support her. We did not support her on any conditions otherwise she was a single member, how could she have become the chairperson. We felt she deserved a chance and was a good candidate,” Imran said, as per a local news agency KNS.

The PC leader also claimed that Baig had expressed desire to go to the PM Modi’s all party meeting in New Delhi with Sajad Lone and requested if the PC president can take him along.

“But at no point did we have any remotest idea about what he was going to speak inside and neither we had any idea about what we were going to speak inside,” he said.

Baig reportedly argued at the meeting that the issue of the revocation of Article 370 should be left to the Apex Court as the matter was sub-judice. “As far as Article 370 is concerned, I said in the meeting that the matter is in the Supreme Court so let the Supreme Court decide on this issue”, Baig told a private news channel in an interview after the meeting.

Meanwhile, Muzaffar Hussain Baig told Kashmir Observer that PC is his family but he has not joined the party as such.

Reacting to Imran’s claims, Baig said: “I was not invited to Delhi as a PC leader. Ex-Chief Ministers and ex-Deputy Chief Ministers were invited to the meeting. And heads of political parties. I was invited as Deputy Chief Minister. The BJP Dy CM’s were also invited and allowed to speak.”

“It was made very clear to me by PM’s office that former Deputy Chief Ministers and the heads of political parties were invited. It is not that Sajad Lone took me there and I was not invited. I had received invitation in my own capacity,” he added.

He further said that at the APM, only one person from each political party was allowed to speak.

“Farooq Abdullah spoke for NC. Omar was not called to speak. Only one person could speak for one political party,” he said.

When asked if he is a part of PC, Baig said that he is not but could be anytime.

“It depends on working out the arrangements and that takes time. Sajad Sahab had come here thrice. I made it very clear to him that if I join PC, which was my first political party; it will not be my desire, for any position in the government, if suppose PC becomes part of the government,” he said.

A lawyer turned politician, Baig started his political career in late 1970s with the newly founded party by the late Abdul Gani Lone. 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 politician was conferred the third-highest civilian award — the Padma Bhushan by Modi-led BJP government in January last 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.

In November last year, Baig, who co-founded PDP with Mufti Mohammad Sayed in 1999, resigned from the party over the seat sharing agreement with the constituents of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) for the district development council (DDC) polls.

The former J&K Dy CM had claimed that he was not consulted regarding seat sharing agreement with PAGD affiliated parties. (With agency inputs)

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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