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Posted at: Jun 16, 2019, 6:16 AM; last updated: Jun 16, 2019, 6:16 AM (IST)

Defection threat looms large on PDP in south Kashmir

Suhail A Shah
Anantnag, June 15

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is facing imminent defection of some senior leaders, particularly in the southern region of the valley, in the wake of differences over the proposed distribution of mandates for the yet-to-be announced Assembly polls, sources close to the party affairs said.

The PDP has been facing a tough time since its coalition partner, the BJP, pulled out of the government last summer. The party witnessed the defection of some important leaders, at least five of them, to some other regional parties following the BJP’s pullout.

Following the crisis, the PDP was rooted out in the Lok Sabha polls and the shocker came from their erstwhile bastion, south Kashmir.

Despite the fact that former Chief Minister and party president, Mehbooba Mufti, was contesting from the Anantnag seat, the party managed to win on only three Assembly segments out of the total 16 that form the Lok Sabha seat.

If sources in the party are to be believed, there have been some serious differences between the party leadership and some senior leaders in south Kashmir as the Assembly elections draw near.

“There has been talk about the distribution of mandates and these leaders are not happy with the way things have been going so far,” a party source said, adding that some of these leaders had approached the NC and/or the People’s Conference.

The sources quote the example of this south Kashmir Assembly segment from where the 2016 unrest started.

“A senior leader and a relative of Mehbooba is interested in handing over the mandate to one of his own men, sidelining the winning candidate of the 2014 elections. Obviously, the former MLA is not happy and I have heard that he is already talking to the NC leadership,” the source said.

Likewise in another segment, in one of the most volatile districts of south Kashmir, it has come to the fore that Mehbooba wants to field a new candidate, sideling one of the most senior leaders of the party.

“Moreover, speculation is rife that Tassaduq Mufti, Mehbooba’s brother, has shown interest in contesting the Assembly polls and he might overtake the mandate of yet another senior leader from south Kashmir,” the sources revealed.


All is well: Spokesman  

  • A PDP spokesperson, Rafi Ahmad Mir, however, insisted that all was well within the party. “There was a newspaper report and all this talk started after that,” he said.
  • He added that mandates in his party were given on merit and a committee would sit down in due time to do that. “For now, there is no such thing happening.” 

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