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PDP leader’s statement may be end for Mehbooba’s leadership

Jammu, Jan 10 (IANS) Muzaffar Hussain Beigh, patron of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) indicting Mehbooba Mufti of making provocative statements, which led to the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, is something which Mufti cannot shrug off as just another rebel deserting her.

Beigh has been second only to Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, the founder of the PDP and when Sayeed passed away in 2016, Beigh was the front runner for the chief minister’s post.

He forewent his right to the chief minister’s post by championing Mehbooba Mufti’s name to succeed her father.

A legal luminary whose presence in the PDP was seen as that of an anchor and advisor, Beigh’s statement on Thursday proves that he has decided either to leave the party or ensure that the party survives without Mehbooba Mufti.

The PDP has expelled its eight leaders for having interacted with the 17-member delegation of foreign diplomats.

Interestingly, one of the expelled leaders who was regarded as the loyalist of the Muftis, Rafi Mir has questioned his expulsion. Mir said how can anyone say that he has been expelled as all the top leadership of the party including Mehbooba Mufti is under detention.

Already some of the PDP’s senior leaders like Altaf Bukhari, Imran Ansari, Basharat Bukhari, Dilawar Mir and many others have left the PDP.

The damage control exercise by the PDP announcing the expulsion of the rebels after they deserted the party has not come handy for Mehbooba Mufti.

Beigh’s indictment of Mehbooba for making provocative statements in which she said ‘nobody would be there to shoulder the national flag if article 370 was abrogated’ could have a serious fallout on the PDP’s future under her leadership.

Viewed with hindsight, Mehbooba’s statement has proved that she either completely misread the situation or was making empty threats after she learnt that the Centre had decided to go ahead with the abrogation of the special status.

“Both ways, Mehbooba Mufti has proved that she lacks political acumen and that the PDP has been unfortunate that late Mufti Sayeed was succeeded by his daughter”, said a PDP rebel who was a minister in the PDP-BJP coalition government.

After most of her stalwarts left the party, Beigh’s hard hitting statement could well become a curtains down situation for the PDP at least as long as Mehbooba Mufti continues to head it.

“It is immaterial to argue why Muzaffar Hussain Beigh did not make such a statement when Mehbooba Mufti was in power.

“Beigh Sahab has at least thrice put down her opponents in the party, who wanted her removed as the PDP president. He always tried to keep the party together”, said a PDP leader believed to be close to Beigh.

With his disenchantment becoming public with Mehbooba Mufti, it is just a matter of time before Beigh decides to work for an alternative regional party.

The bad news for the PDP is that Beigh coming out against Mehbooba Mufti in public means that the PDP could well now be restricted to just a few Mufti loyalists who will not be able to keep the ship afloat for long.

–IANS

sq/dpb

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