SRINAGAR — Out of the 28 MLAs elected on Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket in the last Assembly elections in the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir, 18 have left the party in the last two and a half years after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew support to Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition.
In the 2014 elections, PDP emerged as the single largest party by winning 28 seats, but 18 of them have either deserted the party or were expelled from it since.
According to details, the Apni Party has been the major beneficiary of people leaving PDP as 10 MLAs elected on the latter party’s ticket in 2014 are now the former’s part.
Altaf Bukhari, who heads the Apni Party, was himself an MLA of Peoples Democratic Party from Amira Kadal and was a minister in governments led by late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and his daughter Mehbooba Mufti.
The PDP MLAs who joined the Apni Party include Raja Manzoor ( Karnah), Noor Muhammad Sheikh (Batamaloo), Yawar Ahmad Mir ( Rafiabad), Javaid Hussain Baigh ( Baramulla), Muhammad Ashraf Mir (Sonawar), Abdul Majid Paddar (Noorabad), Abdul Rahim Rather (Kokernag), Choudhary Zulfikar Ali (Darhal) and Choudhary Qamar Hussain (Rajouri).
Five of them were expelled from the party after they met foreign envoys and Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu in January 2020.
Three of them — Imran Reza Ansari (Pattan), Abid Ansari (Zadibal) and Muhammad Abbas (Tangmarg) ended by joining the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference (JKPC).
Two of them — Khalil Bandh (Pulwama) and Syed Basharat Bukhari (Sangrama) — joined National Conference (NC). However, Bukhari recently quit NC and joined PC.
Javaid Mustafa Mir, who won the 2014 elections from Chadoora constituency, joined Jammu Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM), which was formed by the 2010 IAS topper Shah Faesal, who later resigned from politics.
Shah Mohammad Tantray, who had won Poonch Haveli seat in the 2014 elections, has not joined any party yet after resigning from PDP.
Noted economist and former MLA Haseeb Drabu resigned from the party in December 2018 but did not return to politics. He was recently appointed as an independent director by aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul services provider Air Works.
According to observers, PDP’s decline started when it joined hands with BJP for a six-year power-sharing in J&K which later proved only a nightmare for the party.
“The party sought votes in 2014 to keep BJP out but then it ended up joining hands with the party,” they said, adding that this decision hurt PDP’s core vote bank.
They said that the emergence of new power centres within the party after the demise of Mufti Muhammad Sayeed was also responsible for the weakening of the party. (KNO)