Majid Kapra

Baig rips apart PDP’s poll boycott

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Says ‘ready to join third front if it takes shape’

Srinagar, Nov 20: Training guns at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for boycotting the civic bodies and panchayat elections, party’s founding member Muzaffar Hussain Beigh Tuesday said he will "seriously consider" joining a third front if it emerges.

Asserting that boycotting the civic polls made no sense, Beigh said “PDP betrayed the workers, denying them a chance to connect with the people, by boycotting the elections. They left a vacuum and that space has now been occupied. Politics does not wait for people who boycott."

Addressing media at his residence here, the Member Parliament from Baramulla alleged he was sidelined vis-à-vis party affairs and was not even consulted when the party took the decision to boycott the local bodies’ polls.

"I was in Delhi, just a phone call away. I remained quiet because I did not want the PDP to fall apart," he said.

Beigh also asked the NC and PDP to clear their stand vis-à-vis Article 35-A, saying their election boycott decision makes no sense as the matter is sub-judice in the top court of India which may take years to decide.

Terming the logic behind boycotting ULB and Panchayat polls by two major regional parties as unrealistic, Beigh said what makes them to take decision when the decision is to be taken by Supreme Court of India.

“I failed to understand the logic behind boycotting elections; the decision by the two (PDP and NC) is unrealistic. Case is sub-judice and may take years; does that mean both the parties keeps on boycotting elections until them? Ultimately the matter has to be decided by the Supreme Court,” he added.

Beigh alleged that NC’s election boycott decision attracted PDP also to follow the same path.

“Given the circumstances, NC made defensive move and attracted PDP to follow the same path,” he said adding “I am sorry to say these parties does not have courage to take a line.”

Reacting to speculations that PDP and NC might join hands to form a government in the state to foil BJP's attempts at government formation, Beigh said the PDP was formed to end the family rule and bring in democracy.

"Now this talk of NC-PDP alliance…. How will people of Jammu react? How will people of Ladakh react? It will be an alliance of one religion," he said.

"Jammu would not like it, Ladakh will not remain part of the state. This will lead to trifurcation of the state," he warned.

Responding to the possibility of either NC or PDP getting absolute majority in future Assembly elections, he said "It will be foolish of me to think that NC or PDP will ever get a majority. There was a wave in 2014 (Assembly elections) and we (PDP) still could not get 30 seats."

On the PDP-BJP alliance, he said it did not live up to the expectation of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

He also said the decision of forming alliance with BJP by PDP was not taken in consultation with party leaders, which eventually collapsed.

“They never sought my opinion, nor was I consulted on any matter. When PDP formed alliance with BJP, I was consulted for one day, and that time I told PDP president that this alliance won’t work unless there is a coherence of minds,” he said.

"The alliance, if it had been implemented properly, was a chance to tell the Muslims of India that they were safe. We failed to form a real alliance with the BJP, we remained aloof. The ministers were not intermingling," he said.

Beigh also blamed the PDP for failing to deliver on the development front during its alliance with the BJP in the State government.

"There was development deficiency during those two-and-half-years. Funds were not utilised or were not released. No proposals were sent to the Centre (for development works) because the Centre does not release any funds without proposals," he said.

Beigh said small mistakes in the past led to massive damage to Jammu and Kashmir as was witnessed post-1987 elections.

"What would have happened in 1987 (if Muslim United Front would have formed the government)? Yasin Malik (JKLF chief) said in an interview after those elections that he would go to Pakistan and bring arms. That is what happened. At least we would not have seen terror," he added.

Beigh said the mistakes of politicians in the past were responsible for militancy in the state and the killings which are taking place, irrespective which side they belong to.

Asked if he would quit PDP, the Baramulla MP said he would await a response from the party leadership before taking the step.

"I have not made up my mind. I will have to think about it. It is very difficult to resign from a party which I have formed," he said.

Asked if he would join an alternative front to the NC and PDP, Beigh said "I will seriously consider joining the third front if it emerges".

He said he has not been contacted by the BJP or Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone so far.

"PC (Peoples Conference) has been like a home to me. For me Sajjad Lone has been like a son... if Sajjad Lone is interested ...that there should be a third force that should emerge that could be considered... should be considered... he should be encouraged because people are looking for something new," he said while responding to a question.

"Sajad has not contacted me directly. The BJP has not contacted me (on government formation or third front formation). However, there are people within the party (PDP) who want an elected government," he added.

Praising late former Chief Minister and NC founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, he said both the parties (NC and PDP) should learn lesson from such great leaders who are not born every-day.

Terming Hurriyat Conference as having turned “irrelevant”, Beigh said the reason behind youth taking extreme steps is that they have lost faith in them (Hurriyat) and the system as well.

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