Jammu and kashmir: PDP dissidents skip Mehbooba Mufti meet, party ‘confident’ three will return

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Written by Bashaarat Masood , Liz Mathew | New Delhi, Srinagar | Updated: July 10, 2018 3:05:27 am

Mehbooba Mufti had visited the areas along the International Border yesterday during an extensive tour to assess the situation arising out of the cross-border shelling, which left 12 persons, including two BSF jawans, dead in the past two weeks. (Express photo/Shuaib Masoodi)

While PDP dissidents stayed away from a meeting with party president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday, party leaders have started reaching out to rebel MLAs. They expressed confidence that barring former minister Imran Raza Ansari and his uncle Abdi Ansari, the other dissidents will soon be back in the party fold.

On Monday, three rebel legislators — Abdul Majeed Padder, Javeed Ahmad Beig, and Abbass Wani — were scheduled to meet Mufti. None of them turned up at her residence.

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About the PDP rebels missing the meeting with Mehbooba Mufti, sources said most party leaders and legislators, including some dissidents, had gone to Ladoora, in Rafiabad, to pay condolences to senior PDP leader Altaf Bukhari on his mother’s death, and that could be the reason for their absence.

Abdul Padder, one of the dissident MLAs, told The Indian Express, “I had gone to Altaf-sahib’s residence to offer condolences. I haven’t yet made up my mind about meeting (Mehbooba Mufti).”

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On Monday, several PDP leaders and legislators turned up at the Baramulla residence of Javeed Beig, another dissident legislator. Sources in the party said that while the leaders dropped in for a courtesy visit, they had informal discussion over the political situation emerging in the party.

“He (Beig) has some issues and grievances with the party, but all that can be sorted out easily. We have got indications that he will be back in the party fold soon,” a PDP leader said. “We are hopeful that most dissidents will return to the party but we are not sure about the Ansaris.”

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This came on a day BJP general secretary and the party’s J&K in-charge, Ram Madhav, denied speculation that the BJP is negotiating with the PDP rebels to form a government in the state. “There is no discussion to form the government in Jammu and Kashmir. There is rebellion in the PDP, but the BJP is not negotiating on any government formation with PDP leaders,” Madhav told The Indian Express.

“All these talks about (discussions over) chief minister’s post and the deputy chief minister’s post for the BJP are just rumours,” he maintained.

On Sunday, at least 20 legislators had one-on-one meetings with Mufti at her residence and put forth their grievances. The legislators are learnt to have assured Mufti of their support.

After the BJP pulled out of the coalition government on June 19, leading to imposition of Governor’s rule in the state, there have been rumours that the party was exploring possibilities of government formation by breaking the PDP, along with smaller parties. At least three PDP MLAs have accused Mufti of turning the party into a family affair.

In the 87-member J&K House, PDP has 28 MLAs, BJP 25, National Conference 15, Congress 12, Peoples Conference 2, and Independents.

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