Power Games | Trouble in Paradise

The two parties have joined hands for the elections. Apni Party has fielded candidates in Srinagar and Anantnag-Rajouri and is supporting Sajjad Lone in Baramulla.
Power Games | Trouble in Paradise

Trouble in Paradise

BJP’s friends in Kashmir take on each other

Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing a keen battle for the six Lok Sabha seats from the region. The fight is especially interesting for the three seats of the Kashmir Valley, namely Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag-Rajouri. The BJP is trying to get a foothold in the valley by reportedly supporting two friendly parties – Apni Party led by Altaf Bukhari and J&K People’s Conference of Sajjad Lone.

The two parties have joined hands for the elections. Apni Party has fielded candidates in Srinagar and Anantnag-Rajouri and is supporting Sajjad Lone in Baramulla. National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, who is contesting from Baramulla, and People’s Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti, who is contesting from Anantnag-Rajouri, have accused the BJP of fighting a proxy battle against them through Bukhari and Lone.

Allegations of use of government machinery, money and muscle power in support of the Apni Party and People’s Conference candidates are flying thick and fast. But the real trouble for the BJP is the fight that has broken out between alliance partners Lone and Bukhari. There are reports that the two have turned against each other. Leaders and workers of the Apni Party took to social media platforms to claim that the People’s Conference leadership has instructed its supporters to vote for the National Conference candidate in Srinagar.

Union home minister Amit Shah’s visit to Srinagar last week was reportedly aimed, inter alia, at bringing peace between the warring friends of the BJP. Sources, however, said that the two parties have drifted too far apart and are unlikely to pose any major challenge to the NC and PDP. Interestingly, former state chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has kept away from elections. He was approached by the Apni Party for an alliance, but he refused. He is reportedly preparing for the state elections, likely to be held later this year.

Maliwal Affair

Kejriwal’s plan to axe 3 RS MPs caused trouble

Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal has decided to replace his party’s three Rajya Sabha MPs – Swati Maliwal, Harbhajan Singh and Raghav Chadha. Sources said the party chief’s decision has been communicated to the three and they have been asked to resign. The three AAP MPs were conspicuous by their absence during Kejriwal’s arrest and incarceration.

While Maliwal spent months in the United States despite the party wanting her to remain in Delhi, Chadha stayed away in London during the entire period between Kejriwal’s arrest and his release on bail. Harbhajan has reportedly kept away from campaigning for the party in Punjab and elsewhere. The cricketer has also been accused of striking discordant notes on political issues.

The altercation and the alleged assault on Maliwal occurred when she had gone to discuss the issue of her resignation from the Rajya Sabha. Sources said she told the AAP leader who had communicated Kejriwal’s decision to her that the party had not done any favour by nominating her to Rajya Sabha. She said AAP was built by the combined efforts of a lot of people and all have earned the positions they have got.

She has refused to give up her seat in the Rajya Sabha. Harbhajan Singh has also opposed the party’s decision to sack him. In a tweet, he said he cannot start canvassing without the party giving him a programme. Chadha has returned from London and met the party leadership. With the party boss deciding to crack the whip, more fireworks are likely in the Aam Aadmi Party in the coming days.

Shahid Faridi, The writer is Resident Editor, TNIE, New Delhi.
Follow him on X @Shahid_Farid

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