In an attempt to reach out to the thinking class of Srinagar, opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has zeroed in on former J&K Bank chairman and known columnist Haseeb Drabu.
Drabu’s entry has come as shot in the arm for the PDP ahead of the upcoming assembly polls where it is putting extra focus on the crucial eight seats of Srinagar.
Drabu, who writes column for LiveMint, a sister concern of Hindustan Times, besides other local newspapers is likely to contest the polls from Srinagar where the PDP is having an upper hand in at least five assembly segments after recently-concluded parliament polls.
“I want to leave the perch of punditry and slug it out in noise and chaos of politics,” said Drabu in a letter written to PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, while expressing his will to join the party.
“I have earlier had the occasion to work with and for the people of J&K. Not only was it professionally an absolute privilege but also personally most satisfying. I want to participate and contribute to this overall change by working within aegis of PDP,” said Drabu in the letter.
Welcoming the entry of Drabu, PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed praised the former banker’s contribution to the state.
“Drabu ably assisted the state in its post 2002 economic reconstruction and financial restructuring. He played an important role in all major economic initiatives like the PM’s reconstruction programme, ADB financing and establishment of ERA,” said Sayeed.
Sayeed described the entry of professionals like Drabu into the PDP “indicative of the positive impact this party has made among the intelligentsia of the state”.
“Politics provides the best instrument to serve people and bring change in their lives as established by the PDP in its brief tenure in power,” said Sayeed.
In 2003, Drabu was appointed as state economic advisor by Sayeed. He was also a part of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council. He was appointed chairman of J&K Bank in June 2004 till June 2010.
His first policy stint with the government of J&K was as member of the Godbole committee appointed by Dr Farooq Abdullah in 1997.
However, Drabu’s entry is bound to imbalance the internal party politics and it remains to be seen which constituency will be assigned to him.
A resident of Amira Kadal constituency, Drabu is unlikely to be field from there as business tycoon Altaf Bukhari has already been assigned the segment.