SRINAGAR: In a major jolt to Mehbooba Mufti's Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir, a senior leader of the party and former finance minister and co-author of PDP-BJP coalition government's Agenda of Alliance (AoA) Dr Haseeb Drab resigned from the party on Thursday.
Drabu after sending his resignation to Mufti, took to Twitter to make his decision public. "Even though I have not been a dissident - you are aware I had resigned from the cabinet, assembly and party nearly two years ago which you didn't accept. I have disengaged from the party affairs for quite some time now. I didn't precipitate the matter because I believe it is ethically and morally wrong to leave the party under whose aegis one has contested and won the seat in the legislative assembly. Now that it is over, I am hereby resigning from the PDP," Drabu wrote in his resignation letter to Mehbooba.
Drabu, 57, had joined PDP about four and a half years back and was the Finance Minister during Mufti Sayeed led PDP-BJP government. He was also Finance Minister when Mehbooba Mufti took over as chief minister of PDP-BJP coalition government in April 2016 after death of her father in January that year. However, in March this year, Drabu was sacked as Finance Minister by then CM for his controversial statement that "Kashmir was not a political issue".
After the fall of PDP-BJP coalition government in June this year, Drabu had kept himself away from the party affairs and did not attend any party meeting since then. He had also turned down membership of PDP's political affairs committee after being appointed as member of the powerful committee by Mehbooba.In his resignation letter, Drabu, who was architect of PDP's Manifesto for 2014 Assembly elections and co-author along with BJP general secretary Ram Madhav of PDP-BJP coalition government's "Agenda of Alliance", stated that his journey in party both as an MLA and a minister has had its fair share of highs and lows, successes and failures, appreciation and condemnation, contentment and frustrations, and agreement and disagreements.
"There are many things that I am thankful for, many more I am grateful for and yet much more that I am distressed about. A slice of full life in itself as it were," he wrote.Drabu said in his four and a half years in PDP, he can't say he enjoyed every moment but the experience has been "enriching and enlightening association.
"I as a minister got a flavour of politics in all its fascinating melange ranging from conviction, compulsion and compromise to principles, pledges, and perfidies," added Drabu, who is close to Ram Madhav.Drabu's resignation comes at a time after another senior PDP leader and MP Muzaffar Hussain Baig hinted at quitting the party and joining Peoples Conference of Sajjad Gani Lone, who is a BJP ally, for being ignored by Mehbooba.
However, Baig has not officially resigned from the PDP yet. Two former PDP MLAs including influential Shia leader Imran Reza Ansari and his uncle Abid Ansari have also disassociated themselves from the party. Imran has joined Sajjad's Peoples Conference and his uncle is also likely to join the party in coming days. Another former PDP MLA Abbas Wani and MLC Yasir Reshi have also rebelled against Mehbooba. While Reshi is now close to Sajjad-camp, Wani is not opening his cards. Drabu is said to be close to Imran Ansari and it remains to be seen whether he joined Sajad's Peoples Conference.