Is third-front falling apart in Kashmir?

Altaf Bukhari led an eight-member delegation, a group of former legislators who had recently shifted sides, to meet Lieutenant Governor, Girish Chandra Murmu on 7 January 2020.

Srinagar: Before the ripples created by the word of emergence of a third-front, or an alternative political party, in the troubled waters of Jammu and Kashmir (J-K) could settle – recent reports hints over developing differences within the former legislators.

On 7 January, former finance minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Altaf Bukhari led an eight-member delegation, a group of former legislators who had recently shifted sides, met Lieutenant Governor, Girish Chandra Murmu.

One of the legislators – Muzaffar Hussain Beigh, a former senior leader of PDP is talking with several other leaders to walk with him; creating a leadership crisis among the group.

“Many of the leaders affiliated with different political parties were joining their hands to form another political podium in Jammu and Kashmir. However, the group has witnessed leadership clashes,” sources told a wire news service, Kashmir News Observer.

The source added that the rebel PDP leader is talking and trying to accumulate leaders on his side – planning to create an alternative political party in Kashmir – to have a larger bargaining position before New Delhi.

“The third front is divided into two at present and confabulation is on with the leaders to increase the count,” sources told.

The group had come ahead with an idea of demanding Article 371 for J-K and restoration of statehood.

Talking to The Kashmir Walla last week, Ghulam Hassan Mir, a former legislator from Tangmarg constituency and a part of the group that met Mr. Murmu, had said, “Currently, the group has more than fifteen likeminded people and that is a big success.”

On 5 August, the central government had revoked the special status of J-K and downgraded it to an union territory. Since then, three ex-chief ministers of J-K – Dr. Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti – remain under detention.

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