People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is undergoing restructuring that has led to the resignation of Sartaj Madni from Vice-President position earlier today, which he called was “in the larger interests of the party and for its strengthening, stability and unity.”
The party has been at a low since the formation of coalition government with the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in 2015, that ended on 19 June 2018 when the BJP pulled its support. There have been apprehensions that the BJP will form the government with rebel PDP leaders but hasn’t reached to any conclusion. However, the BJP is focusing more on upcoming 2019 elections than the government formation in the state.
To shift party strategy, in the last few days, Mehbooba Mufti, who is the PDP president, has been meeting legislators and other party leaders at her Fairview Residence on Gupkar Road discussing the change in party strategy ahead of the next elections.
In the plan to restructure the party, sources said that four main figures who will play a significant role and be part of the core group of the party are – Altaf Bukhari, Abdul Rehman Veeri, Dilawar Mir and Safina Baigh (wife of Muzaffar Baigh), who was present at recent meetings with Mufti. “They will be given added responsibilities to form the core of the party,” sources said.
According to the sources, Mufti met PDP founding leader and member of parliament, Muzaffar Hussain Baigh, at his residence last week, as he couldn’t attend the meetings due to his poor health at the moment. Baigh is likely to be given more responsibilities in having him as the party patron. The communication channels also open with the disgruntled party leaders, as per the sources.
“She has been continuously having meetings across the party leadership and elected legislators. Muzaffar Baigh couldn’t join the recent meeting at her residence as he was not keeping well but they met and have been in constant touch,” added sources.
The party’s new strategy, as per sources, is aimed at triangular factor – North, South Centre. In north, they see the competition between National Conference, People’s Conference (PC) and PDP, and by getting Baigh back he plays a key role in reclaiming the space for the PDP, making it difficult for the PC President Sajjad Lone, who has two assembly seats.
In central Kashmir, the PDP sees direct opposition from NC, and in South it sees no one in opposition from NC or any other party. To counter, NC opposition in Central Kashmir in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the PDP is discussing plans to field a new candidate, who has not been in mainstream politics so far.
While as according to the sources in the BJP – their former coalition partner, the top leadership of the BJP in New Delhi has informed the state leadership not to focus on government formation. “The top leadership has told that the party shouldn’t focus on government formation but rather focus on strengthening the party in the state for the upcoming elections,” said a source.
Senior BJP leader and former state deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta while speaking to The Kashmir Walla confirmed that there have been no talks of government formation with our top leadership. “We are preparing for 2019 elections as the preparations are going on. There is no such move of government right now. Political parties make government and there is time for that. Government formation depends on the right time,” he said.
Sources in the BJP also added that talks of Sajjad Lone being discussed as the next chief minister or trying to form a new government are wrong. “The talks and assumptions of new government formation were only to strengthen and give further space to People’s Conference, which could play a vital role in next elections,” sources said.