SRINAGAR: There seems to be no end to dissent in Mehbooba Mufti's Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as senior leader and former finance minister Syed Altaf Bukhari was on Saturday expelled for anti-party activities.
With Bukhari's expulsion, PDP has so far lost five former ministers, two former MLAs and other party leaders to the rebellion in the party.
Bukhari, according to sources, was in touch with some leaders of PDP and other parties in a bid to float a third front.
A PDP spokesman confirmed Bukhari's explusion on Saturday.
"PDP has been watching with concern his activities for quite some time. After the death of PDP founder Mufti Sayeed, he (Bukhari) had been pursuing his personal political ambition at the cost of the party and the state's interest," he said.
Bukhari, a businessman, won his maiden assembly election from Amira Kadal constituency in Srinagar, in the 2014 Assembly polls and was a minister in PDP-BJP coalition government headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Mehbooba Mufti. He was appointed Finance Minister by Mehbooba last year, after Haseeb Drabu was sacked for his remark that Kashmir wasn't a political issue.
The PDP spokesman said Bukhari inspired and led dissent in the party at the most crucial stage, which resulted in serious damage to the effort aimed at implementing the Agenda of Alliance during the coalition government with BJP.
After Mufti's death, Mehbooba was renegotiating with BJP on the implementation of the Agenda of Alliance and was seeking some Kashmir-specific confidence-building measures.
However, she took over as first woman chief minister of the state on April 1, 2016, after Bukhari and some other PDP legislators reportedly approached the BJP, expressing their willingness to form a government with the saffron party.
"While the PDP leadership was engaged in negotiations with the BJP and the Union government, insisting on the implementation of some agreed points before forming the new government, the dissension weakened its bargaining position as a result of which all subsequent developments were against the party's will," the PDP spokesman said.
He said even after the end of PDP-BJP coalition government, Bukhari, instead of pursuing the party's interests, made brazen attempts to break the party by hobnobbing with its rivals.
"The leadership waited in the hope of Bukhari clearing the air. But unfortunately, he did nothing to change this impression. It was, therefore, decided to expel Bukhari from the party's basic membership with immediate effect," the PDP spokesman said.
Sources said Bukhari is in touch with some disgruntled PDP leaders and leaders or other parties in a bid to put together a third front in the state.