PDP kept 18 MLAs, 4 MLCs out from crucial meeting on alliance with BJP
'Only Cabinet Ministers, family members, advisors, select MLCs and select office-bearers were invited'
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
JAMMU, Jan 18: Voices of dissent rallying around the ebullient Member of Parliament and senior PDP leader Tariq Hameed Karra are emerging as a potential threat to PDP's renewal of alliance with BJP as 22 legislators ---18 MLAs and 4 MLCs----had not been invited to Sunday's crucial meeting that set the tone for formation of the new government with BJP.
With his phone continuously switched off, Karra remained inaccessible after the conclusion of the PDP meeting at the Muftis' Fairview residence. However, a local news agency quoted him as saying that his silence in the meeting was not essentially his endorsement of the proposed government formation with BJP. He is reported to have said that he would soon have a one-on-one meeting with the party President Mehbooba Mufti and register his opposition to the suggestion of continuing the coalition with BJP.
Significantly, on January 12th Karra had categorically rejected the idea of PDP-BJP government while urging Mehbooba, in a statement through KNS, to terminate her party's alliance with BJP and approach Congress for forging a "secular government".
Karra had said: "PDP has lost its support by tying up with a communal party. I have been saying from the last nine months that RSS-BJP is not acceptable to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Because it has a history that since 1952, RSS and BJP have a hidden agenda in Kashmir. What RSS could not achieve in the last six decades, they have achieved that in the last six months. And not only has it damaged Kashmir, but also Peoples Democratic Party in Kashmir.”
Previously too, Karra, alongwith Muzaffar Hussain Baig, had boycotted PDP-BJP Coordination Committee meeting on August 19, PDP's meeting ahead of Prime Minister’s November 7th rally presided over by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on October 21 and finally PDP's marathon performance review meeting chaired by Mufti at Banquet Hall in Srinagar on December 19th.
Insiders said that Karra remained tightlipped all through the five-hour-long meeting in which none other than Ms Mufti herself set the tone in favour of forming the government with BJP even as some of the participants expressed disappointment over the fact that BJP had not fulfilled "even a single" of the promises and commitments held out to PDP in the common minimum programme called the 'Agenda of Alliance'. However, all 10 of late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s Cabinet Ministers----9 MLAs and one MLC--- besides Ms Mufti’s relatives and her father's and her own advisors emphasised that taking a different course would tantamount to proving the party patriarch as wrong.
Four of the party’s legislators, who spoke to STATE TIMES on condition of anonymity, said invariably that around two dozen MLAs and MLCs were "terribly upset" over not being invited to the meeting. "Out of 27 MLAs only 9 (all of them Sayeed's Cabinet Ministers) were invited. Out of 9 MLCs, only five were hand-picked for the meeting", said a legislator and senior PDP leader. "We were more surprised to see that Mufti Sahab’s aides, advisors and relatives, some of them not even basic members of the party, had been invited to the meeting", he added and asked how even the salaried people like Peer Mohammad Hussain (head of Wakf board) and Nayeema Mehjoor (Chairman State Women’s Commission) attended the crucial meeting. "They are neither legislators, nor ex-Ministers, nor even members of PAC or any other party panel. How can they decide about the party’s coalition with any other party? How can the very senior leaders and sitting legislators be left out of this crucial deliberation?", asked he.
When it was pointed out to the sulking PDP legislators that it was a "Core Group Meeting" which was not supposed to be attended by all the leadrs and legislators, one of them asserted: "There's no Core Group (Political Affairs Committee) or Executive Committee after dissolution of all the bodies last year. Only the President, some General Secretaries, District Presidents, District Coordinators and Zonal Presidens have been elected/appointed. President is yet to constitute Political Affairs Committee, Executive Council and General Council. Even if we assume the previous PAC as existing, how many of these invitees and participants were members of that panel which happens to be the highest decision making body?"
Another legislator pointed out that the sitting MLAs and MLCs had been dropped by a number of former ministers and defeated MLAs invited. "If Peer Hussain, Gaffar Sofi and Qazi Afzal attended as former ministers/ defeated candidates, why not former Forest Minister Mohiuddin Sofi?", he asked.
PDP's chief spokesperson Dr Mehboob Beg refused to accept that the invitees had been selected on pick-and-choose basis. "Nobody was handpicked. I myself checked with President. She made it clear to me that it is just an extended meeting of the Core Group (PAC). Nobody was invited as a legislator. Only the Cabinet Ministers, senior office bearers like the four General Secretaries and Coordinators and members of Core Group were invited. Besides, there were a few special invitees like me", Dr Beg asserted. He claimed that the former Core Group (PAC) was still in life.
Dr Beg said that the party leadership would hold separate meeting "in due course of time" and all of them would be taken on board before the government formation.
Among the 9 MLCs, only Nayeem Akhtar (ex-Minister), Asgar Ali, Yashpal Sharma, Vikramadatiya Singh and Anayat Ali attended the meeting. Saifuddin Bhat, Khursheed Alam, Zaffar Iqbal Manhas and Firdaus Tak were not invited.
PDP LEGISLATORS NOT INVITED TO THE MEETING
1. Mohammad Ashraf Mir MLA Sonwar/ Ex-MoS
2. Abdul Majid Paddar MLA Noorabad/ Ex-MoS
3. Asiea Naqash MLA Hazratbal /Ex-MoS
4. Abid Hussain Ansari MLA Zadibal
5. Javed Hassan Baig MLA Baramulla
6. Yawar Ahmad Mir MLA Rafiabad
7. Mohd Abbas Wani MLA Gulmarg
8. Raja Manzoor Ahmad MLA Karnah
9. Nazir Ahmad MLA Batmaloo
10. Mushtaq Ahmad Shah MLA Tral
11. Zahoor Ahmad Mir MLA Pampore
12. Mohd Khalil Bandh MLA Pulwama
13. Aijaz Ahmad Mir MLA Wachi
14. Mohd Yousuf Bhat MLA Shopian
15. Abdul Rahim Rather MLA Kokernag
16. Syed Farooq Andrabi MLA Dooru
17. Shah Mohd Tantray MLA Poonch
18. Qamar Hussain Ch. MLA Rajouri
19. Saifuddin Bhat MLC
20. Zaffar Iqbal Manhas MLC
21. Khursheed Alam MLC
22. Firdaus Ahmad Tak MLC