After two senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders Peer Muhammad Hussain and former minister Syed Bashrat Bukhari joined the National Conference (NC) on Wednesday, the Peoples Conference (PC) chairman Sajad Gani Lone sarcastically remarked that one dynast was poaching the other.
“The two dynasts’ made fun of me on Twitter. Made a lovely skeleton of me. Now that one is poaching the other. Wonder- amongst the dynasts who is sketching whose skeleton,” Lone said in a tweet.
The two dynasts’ made fun of me on twitter. Made a lovely skeleton of me. Now that one is poaching the other. Wonder- amongst the dynasts’ who is sketching whose skeleton.— Sajad Lone (@sajadlone) December 19, 2018
The former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ally in the state was referring to the Twitter exchanges between former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti on the eve of the dissolution of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on November 22, when the two leaders had tweeted on the episode with sharp humorous overtones.
The PDP on Tuesday expelled Hussain and Bukhari from the party’s basic membership for "anti-party" activities” after reports emerged that the duo is set to join the NC. The party has also removed another leader Mehboob Iqbal from the party.
Two-time MLA from north Kashmir’s Sangrama Assembly constituency of Baramulla district, Bukhari was a Cabinet minister in the PDP-BJP coalition government. The NC believes that his induction will strengthen the party in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district as Bukharis wield considerable influence in the region.
Bukhari, a former broadcaster, joined the PDP in 2003 and since then he has held important positions in the party. He was the Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs when Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was heading the PDP-BJP coalition government. Later, when Mehbooba Mufti took over, Bukhari was given Horticulture portfolio, which he considered insignificant given his profile and expressed unwillingness to accept it. Subsequently, he was given additional charge of the Law Ministry.
Bukhari would be the face of the NC in the north Kashmir’s Baramulla district in coming elections.
Hussain was among the founding members of the PDP and was seenas a close confidant of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Hussain was a Minister in the PDP-Congress coalition between 2003 and 2008. Later, he gave up the constituency to make way for his son-in-law Peerzada Manzoor Hussain for the 2008 elections.
Commenting on the development, a senior PDP leader said that their exit from the party wouldn’t make any difference. “We have seen vertical split in the NC when Ghulam Mohammad Shah and his associates left the NC. Today the NC is there but no one remembers Ghulam Mohammad Shah. Political parties don’t cease to exist because few individuals leave,” says the leader.
Another leader says that the NC is not giving space to new faces and is instead getting people from other parties. “Same people are circulating in different parties which ends prospects of new faces to join politics. Instead of opening spaces for new people, the NC is accommodating politicians from other parties. Where is the change,” asks the leader.
However, the NC rejects such assertions. “Both Peer Hussain and Basharat Bukhari Sahab have a good track record. They have worked a lot for people in their constituencies and in the state. Such political personalities are welcome in our party,” says Tanveer Sadiq, political secretary to Abdullah.
Sadiq says both the leaders have clean image in their long political career and they would be great help to the party. “Their popularity would add to the party’s growing profile,” he says.
He rejected Sajad Lone’s argument that the NC is poaching other parties and said Lone has no moral right to make such assertions. “Mr. Sajad Lone claimed that 18 MLAs are with him when he staked claim for government formation. After the dissolution of the Assembly there is no threat of defection. Why he is not showing those 18 politicians to people,” Sadiq says.