Former Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) patron and one of its founding members, Muzuffar Hussain Beigh has resigned from the PDP.
The resignation of Beigh has come at a time when the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) was finalising the list of candidates for the District Development Council (DDC) polls.
PDP leaders confirmed that Beigh has resigned and conveyed his decision to Mehbooba Mufti, who is the president of the party.
“The news about his resignation hasn’t been denied by Beigh or the PDP. So, it’s true,” said a senior PDP leader.
Beigh had previously served as deputy chief minister of the erstwhile state and also as a member of parliament (MP) from Baramulla Lok Sabha seat. Among the senior most leaders of the party, Beigh had mostly stayed away from party activities since last year when Centre abrogated Article 370 that had conferred special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
However, Beigh’s wife Safeena Beigh, who is the president of PDP’s Women’s wing, has been actively attending party meetings after the release of PDP leaders, especially the PDP president, from detention.
Beigh is now planning a press conference in the coming few days to chalk out his future strategy. Some leaders are still trying to convince Beigh to stay within the party.
Neither Muzaffar Beigh nor his wife Safeena Beigh responded to calls or messages. PDP too, has not made any official announcement about Beigh’s resignation.
PDP leaders claimed that Beigh was upset since his wife was not given a ticket from Sangrama block on a seat reserved for women, resulting in the seat going to a National Conference candidate. Beigh feels that PDP didn’t do much to secure a seat for the party candidate in Sangrama.
“Beigh wanted a seat from Sangrama and despite request from the PDP, NC local leadership didn’t relent, which became the reason for his resignation,” said a senior PDP leader, close to party president.
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There have been strong indications that Beigh will leave the party, especially after the formation of the Apni Party in March this year, when almost two dozen PDP leaders, including many former legislators and ministers, left the party to join the new party.
Earlier, PAGD leadership decided to contest the DDC polls jointly; however, after NC candidates cornered most seats released in the first list, leaders from other parties in the alliance raised questions over the distribution of seats.
NC president Farooq Abdullah who is the chairman of the PAGD was authorised to select the candidates for the DDC polls. On Saturday, another meeting was held at the residence of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, in which further deliberations were held on the names of the candidates for the remaining phases of the polls.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, however, said that the PAGD has bigger cause to fight for than petty electoral gains. “PAGD was formed solely to safeguard the identity of people of J&K that has been under constant attack since August 2019. To assume it was created for petty electoral gains or to further party interests is erroneous. We have a bigger cause to fight for than bicker over DDC elections,” tweeted Mehbooba Mufti.
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Peoples’ Conference chairman, Sajjad Lone, while endorsing the tweet of Mufti hinted that there are differences on the distribution of seats.
“I agree with every word and would further add that the reality, as it exists, is that statesmanship and magnanimity is still a missing trait in our polity. And the absence is being felt more than any other time,” Sajad Lone tweeted.
Besides the National Conference and the PDP, the Peoples’ Conference, the CPI (M), and the Awami National Conference are part of the PAGD. The National Conference and the PDP had stayed away from the panchayat polls in 2018. Peoples’ Conference however participated in the elections. Congress has also said that they are part of the alliance.
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