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LS Elections 2024–PDP & NC Partnership Ends, Old Rivalry Returns

April 3, 2024

Muhammad Mukaram

Srinagar: Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and President of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mehbooba Mufti, on Wednesday dropped a bombshell by announcing that her party will field candidates for all the three Lok Sabha seats in the Kashmir Valley.

It means that the PDP will announce its candidates for the Anantnag-Rajouri, Srinagar and Baramulla LS seats. J&K National Conference, the region’s oldest political formation, has already decided to field its candidates for these three LS constituencies.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters, Mehbooba Mufti explained that she had put the ball in senior National Conference leader and former chief minister, Farooq Abdullah, hoping that he would arrive at a just decision regarding the poll alliance while rising above the party lines.

“I had left it to him (Farooq Abdullah) to decide about the poll alliance, hoping that, as a judge, he would rise about party lines and make a just decision. But it didn’t happen,” Mehbooba said.

Flanked by senior PDP leader and former cabinet minister, Naeem Akhtar, the party president confirmed that her party will contest LS on all three Kashmir-based seats.

With the two main PAGD partners contesting LS seats as competitors now, the PDP and the NC have lifted the veil and exposed cracks and fissures in the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) and the Congress-led India-bloc.

It would be interesting to know how will the PDP’s decision affect the election outcome, especially for the Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary seat. Mian Altaf, an influential political and spiritual leader among the Gujjar community, is expected to do well electorally but now the PDP’s decision to contest the same seat means that votes will be divided for sure.

Who will benefit from this vote division can be anybody’s guess.

A key political observer said that the PDP feared that the NC was trying to bully the former and render it electorally and politically redundant, taking advantage of the desertions.

Currently, the PDP is on its weakest footing as senior leaders like Altaf Bukhari, Haseeb Drabu, Rafi Mir, Ashraf Mir, Imran Reza Ansari, Basharat Bukhari etc have either been sacked, left the party or joined new groups such as the Apni Party and the People’s Conference.

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