SRINAGAR: In the first sign of dissension in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir, two influential sitting Shia MLAs including a former minister have revolted against party president Mehbooba Mufti by labelling PDP as "Family Democratic Party" and expressed readiness to join any other party. Senior PDP leader A Zadibal Abid Ansari told New Indian Express that as Chief Minister, Mehbooba was arrogant.
"She was giving least importance to party MLAs and never listened to them. She did not show any respect to MLAs. Infact she treated them (MLAs) as her servants," he said adding, "Mehboob to understand that it was because of MLAs that she was CM and not because of her relatives." Abid, an influential Shia leader and General Secretary of J&K Shia Association, said she (Mehbooba) never gave ear to suggestions of MLAs.
"She only used to listen to the advice of her relatives, who were in her inner coterie". He said MLAs many told her that advisors surrounding her were misguiding her and making her take wrong decision.
"However, she never listened to us and continued to follow wrong advices of her family members, which ultimately lead to fall of the government".
According to Abid after Mufti Sayeed's death, situation changed and Mehbooba assigned key posts in party to family members. "She made her maternal uncle Sartaj Aziz as party vice president and also inducted her relatives in the cabinet".
"Mehbooba inducted her cinematographer brother Tassaduq and relatives in the cabinet. She inducted her brother as Tourism minister despite him having no experience and not even being an MLA. She also adjusted her relatives as Vice chairmen of different boards," he said.
According to the PDP MLA, Mehbooba has ruined and damaged the party by converting it into "family fiefdom". Abid, who belongs to an influential religious family of Shia community, alleged that nepotism and corruption increased during Mehbooba government. "After 2014 floods, Prime Minister Narenda Modi visited the State and announced Rs 80,000 crores PM package. Nobody knows where did that money go? Kashmir is again facing flood threat because previous government did nothing to avert floods," he said.
Alleging corruption in awarding of contracts, MLA said Mehbooba gave contract of construction of Medical College in Anantnag to her relatives. Abid warned that PDP would disintegrate if it continues to be the Muftis party. "There is anger among the legislators and it will definitely come out with passage of time. If PDP remains confined to family, then it will disintegrate as members and leaders will leave the party to serve the people rather than serving a family," he said.
Hinting that he may leave PDP, Abid said, "I have not left the party yet. However, if people of my constituency feel there is another option for their betterment, I will have to go by that option. And if I have to change party for betterment of my people, I will not hesitate to do so".
Abid's nephew and sitting MLA from Pattan and former Education Minister Imran Ansari said PDP has been converted into "Family Democratic Party" and people are fed up with this party. "I was a minister in Mehbooba government and I was telling her from sometime that we are feeling suffocated in the party as it has been hijacked by some elements. It is because of these elements that Mehbooba lost power," he said. Imran said late Mufti Sayeed had formed the PDP and he never allotted party positions to family members.
"However, since Mehbooba took charge, the party is being looked after by her maternal uncle, uncle or brother". "We feel bad that this party has been turned into a family party. The family has not only ruined the party but also Kashmir," he said. On his future plans, Imran said, "PDP is for four people and they are running its affairs. We have bade goodbye to them and to Mehbooba."
"If I feel tre is another party, where there is no family raaj, we will join that party. We have joined politics for people and if we have to change 50 parties, we will do for betterment of people," he added.