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NC terms ‘Delhi’s party’; Congress calls it ‘saffron offshoot’; PDP says, ‘B-team of BJP’; BJP welcomes it

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Srinagar: Reacting to former PDP leader Altaf Bukhari announcing a new political party here on Sunday, the National Conference said it is pretty clear that the Centre is contriving to prop up yet another formation in Jammu and Kashmir to “serve its interests at the cost of democracy”.

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president A Mir also termed the new political party as “an offshoot of the saffron party”.

In a statement, NC spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said it is becoming clear that the continued detention of “legitimate and tall political voices” of J&K is not about law and order, but it is purely political in nature.

He said the emergence of the new political formation is a “handiwork of those who want to blunt the true representative voices of J-K.” The move is aimed to ditch genuine political aspirations of the people of J&K, he said.

“The way things are unfolding here in J&K, it is pretty clear that the central government in connivance with few is contriving to prop up yet another formation in J&K to serve its interests at the cost of democracy and political probity,” Dar said.

“They want to fill the political vacuum of Kashmir with those who parrot what New Delhi wants them to. It is therefore safe to call this new formation as Delhi’s party and nothing else,” he said.

Dar said the NC was not against having new parties in J&K, but the timing and the constituent elements of the newly-formed outfit “is what frets common people who are privy to everything”.

“A new political amalgamation of strange bed-fellows is being pushed down the throats by crowing out genuine representatives of people – former chief ministers, sitting member of Parliament, former law makers. It is no less than a mockery,” he said, adding, “such political outfits are also bound to meet the same fate as other air-dropped outfits whose sole purpose has been to harm the political interests of Kashmir.”

NC spokesperson said the new amalgamation “has the same leaders as have helped anti-democratic forces pull down democratically elected governments in J&K. The members who have joined the new group are the same who pulled down Dr Farooq’s government in 1984.

“It is crystal clear now, that the genuine and representative voices of J&K have been crowed out with a sole purpose to benefit few. New Delhi and BJP wants to give them time to poach people from the NC, the PDP and the Congress,” he said.

He said after rummaging around, “New Delhi has chosen some to play the role of GM Bakshi and GM Sadiq and do the job for them. Here we have a person, who wants people to believe that he had an eureka moment to safeguard the interests of people at a time when the entire political leadership is facing confinement, when the people are still mourning the painful loss. He is sanctimoniously questioning the political acumen of the people of J&K, who he assumes are easy to fleece.”

Raising doubts on the present ruling dispensation’s road map in Kashmir, NC spokesperson said, “A mockery of democracy it is.  It is no less than a charade to speak of democracy and electoral politics at a time when all tall representative voices, ex-chief ministers, sitting parliamentarians, ex-union ministers of J&K are incarcerated on one or other pretext.”

NC also said the “very first gift of this new amalgamation is nixing of the name Sher-i-Kashmir form SKICC. National Conference unequivocally condemns the act and calls upon the saner voices to stop targeting the biggest leader of the sub-continent who cannot be erased from our collective memory.”

Jammu and Kashmir Congress president G A Mir termed the JKAP as “an offshoot of the saffron party”, in an apparent reference to the BJP, which is in power at the Centre.

In a statement, Mir said, “The new political formation is an offshoot of the saffron party. It is a creation of various quarters, which have always been hell-bent upon to create chaos and divisions in the political system of J&K.”

Mir said the political class of J&K was well aware as to how different quarters and government machinery had been used to impress various mainstream political leaders to join the new formation.

“As a result, some have succumbed to pressure and were made to join it. But, such pressure tactics won’t make any difference on the ground, rather it has exposed the motive behind it,” he said.

The JKPCC president urged the people of the union territory to rise to the occasion and expose such new and old formations to bring stability in the region.

“The off-shoot of BJP will no longer befool the people, for the fact that the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are very mature and know how to deal with such formations,” Mir added.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) termed the new political outfit as “B-team of BJP”.

PDP state secretary Abdul Hameed Kousheen said, Bukhari-led new political outfit is “B-team of BJP”.

He said on one hand three former chief ministers including Mehbooba Mufti, Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah are under detention and are not allowed to come out to carry out their political activities, but on the other hand situation is quite different.

“Mr Bukhari and few people are freely allowed to carry out political activities which clearly depicts they are doing this under the patronage of BJP. The group has actually started working as B-team of BJP in Jammu and Kashmir,” Kousheen said.

Hitting out to those who left PDP after August 05, 2019, Kousheen said, “during detention after New Delhi scrapped Article 370, these leaders pledged loyalty to the BJP, and after their release they joined its ranks in order to save themselves from further trouble and harassment.”

He said Apni Party will do nothing for the interests of people of J&K.

“The Bukhari-led Apni Party is incompetent in convincing New Delhi to restore any sort of concession to J&K, so pinning any hope on the new formation is nothing but wastage of time,” the PDP leader said.

The Jammu and Kashmir unit of BJP on welcomed the launch of new political party and expressed hope that the outfit will work for the progress and development of the Union Territory.

BJP Kashmir’s media in-charge Manzoor Bhat in a statement said the people of Jammu and Kashmir were fed up of dynasty politics and sought change.

“We are hopeful that the new party will not deceive the people of J&K as the PDP, NC and Congress did for the last 70 years,” Bhat said, adding that they would jointly work for the development of the region.

“People are fed up of family and traditional politics in the valley and want to see a vibrant change,” he said further.

Bhat said the launch of JKAP will strengthen democracy in the region and pave the way for development and prosperity of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“We hope the party will act as a platform for people from all religions and castes,” he said, adding that the JKAP must not work for vote banks as the Mufti’s (PDP) and Abdullah’s (NC) did for decades.

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