Mehbooba Mufti drops close aides to quell rebellion in PDP

PDP president and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, PTI

Under fire from rebels, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has dropped all her close aides to bring new faces in the party in an apparent bid to quell the revolt.

Those who were dropped in the organisational rejig include former vice president and Mehbooba’s uncle Sartaj Madni, former general secretary Peerzada Mansoor Hussain and former state minister Naeem Akhtar.

Mehbooba’s brother and former tourism minister Tasaduq Mufti and her uncle and former minister Farooq Andrabi have also not been given any responsibility in the party.

Senior leader and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s close aide Abdul Rehman Veeri has been nominated as the Vice President while former ministers Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura, Abdul Haq Khan have been nominated general secretaries.

Mufti also nominated former finance minister Syed Altaf Bukhari as the treasurer of the PDP while Rafi Ahmad Mir was renominated as the chief spokesperson of the party.

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Five rebel MLAs –Javaid Baig, Imran Ansari, Abdul Majeed Paddar, Mohommad Abbaas Wani and Abid Ansari – and two MLCs – Yasir Reshi and Saifuddin Bhat – could not find a place in the organisation.  The rebels had openly raised a banner of revolt against Mehbooba Mufti for what they called turning the party into a family fief.

Five PDP MLAs and two MLCs had openly revolted against the Mehbooba Mufti’s leadership.

The PDP President has also reconstituted the Political Affairs Committee (PAC), the top decision-making body of the Party. Member of Parliament from Baramulla Muzaffar Hussain Baig, A R Veeri, Mohammad Dilawar Mir, Mehboob Baig, Syed Basharat Bukhari, Nizamuddin Bhat, Yashpal Sharma, Chaudhry Zulfkar, Syed Asgar Ali, Falail Singh, Ashraf Mir, Haji Anayat Ali,Rafiq Hussain Khan and Qiza Afzal have found place in the newly-constituted PAC.

The rejig in the PDP comes at a time when hectic backroom efforts are on for the government formation in the state. Insiders said BJP is exploring the option of having the first Hindu chief minister from Jammu region in the state. There are also reports that People’s Conference leader Sajjad Lone may get the deputy chief minister post.

If sources are to be believed, there will be another deputy chief minister from among the PDP rebels to make the government formation an inclusive exercise. 

Government formation in Jammu and Kashmir requires 44 MLAs in the 87 member House. The PDP is the single largest party with 28 members followed by BJP with 25 MLAs. The National Conference and the Congress have 15 and 12 members respectively. People’s Conference has two MLAs while CPIM and PDF have one member each. 

Rest are independents.

DNA