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Analysis | National Conference possibly divided over electoral tie-up within Gupkar alliance

Senior National Conference leader Shameema Firdous. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Senior National Conference (NC) leader Shameema Firdous on Tuesday targeted Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and Gupkar alliance partner Mehbooba Mufti for the second time in 10 days, hinting at the party’s unwillingness to forge any electoral ties with the PDP and projecting Ms. Mufti as an ideological opponent.

Ms. Firdous, a top-ranking leader of the NC who is considered close to both Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, in her public speech in north Kashmir’s Handwara, was vitriolic against Ms. Mufti and her party, blaming them for the “current mess.”

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“[PDP founder] The late Mufti Sayeed’s dream was to sell Kashmir. He placed Kashmir in the lap of India, with locals having no rights now. We are not even able to protest over poor electricity, fearing jail. Even during the tenure of Ms. Mufti as Chief Minister, we saw hundreds of innocent youth killed. Hundreds, including girls, were blinded due to disproportionate use of pellets. We still remember how Ms. Mufti warned youth to stay inside homes or face guns and pellets [in 2016],” she added.

Questioning the PDP-BJP rule headed by Ms. Mufti, Ms. Firdous said, “Where was Ms. Mufti’s conscience then? Where was her conscience when thousands of youth got blinded? The split of the State and the situation J&K is in, it’s because of the PDP.”

It is for the second time in 10 days that the PDP has seen a frontal attack from the NC. Earlier, NC vice-president Omar Abdullah, in his speech in the Chenab Valley, blamed the PDP and its leadership for the “entry of the BJP into J&K and the current situation”.

Both the NC and the PDP are key constituents of the Peoples Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), which was formed in 2019 against the Centre’s decision to end J&K’s special constitutional position on August 5, 2019.

The attack comes in spite of both Dr. Abdullah and Ms. Mufti asking cadre not to attack each other in public space and favouring a joint front against the BJP. In his speech to party workers on the birth anniversary of NC founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah on December 5, Dr. Abdullah had stressed on “unity among the people of J&K to force the Centre to reverse its 2019 decisions.”

On the contrary, the speeches of Abdullah junior and Ms. Firdous are broad hints that there is a division within the NC whether to forge an electoral alliance within the Gupkar amalgam for the yet-to-be-announced Assembly poll in J&K.

In fact, the Gupkar alliance had forged an electoral tie-up during the 2020 District Development Council polls and managed to win the maximum number of constituencies in J&K.

Meanwhile, Ms. Mufti has directed party leaders “not to react to any statements made by the NC leaders,” hinting she still finds the alliance a workable formula against the BJP’s design to install a Hindu Chief Minister.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 8:51:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/analysis-national-conference-possibly-divided-over-electoral-tie-up-within-gupkar-alliance/article37895183.ece

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