Senior National Conference leader Mehboob Beg quit the party on Sunday, extending his “unconditional support” to rival People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, ahead of assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir beginning later this month.
“Make Mufti victorious to save Kashmir and stop the RSS, Modi,” the former Anantnag MP told workers.
Beg is the third leader to leave the NC in recent weeks, putting the party on the back foot barely 10 days before five-phase polls kick off in the northern state on November 25.
The 65-year-old leader was also the party candidate for the Anantnag assembly seat. His resignation is expected to result in a landslide victory for sitting MLA Sayeed.
Son of senior Congress leader Karan Singh Ajatshatru Singh joined the BJP last week and member of legislative council Sheikh Ghulam Rasool went to the PDP on November 5.
But Beg, son of NC stalwart Mirza Afzal Beg, said he hadn’t joined the PDP and blamed the NC leadership for seeking “no inputs on organizational matters from him”. The development of Anantnag was suffering as a result, he said.
Chief minister Omar Abdullah blamed party seniors for Beg’s departure. “There can be no denying that Beg’s departure is something NC could have done without but it has been on the cards for a couple of weeks,” tweeted Abdullah.
The CM also took pot shots at Beg. “If the PDP really wants to know what Beg thinks of them just pull out the recordings of his campaign speeches from the last LS polls,” Abdullah wrote on Twitter.
There can be no denying that Beg's departure is something NC could have done without but it has been on the cards for a couple of weeks 1/2— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) November 16, 2014
If the PDP really wants to know what Beg thinks of them just pull out the recordings of his campaign speeches from the last LS polls 2/2— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) November 16, 2014
The NC said it will announce a fresh candidate for the Anantnag seat soon. “We were not surprised by Beg. He has done it in the past in 1984. He has always been unpredictable,” said NC provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani in a hurriedly-organised press conference in Srinagar.
“This is not jolt to the party and will have no impact on our prospectus in Anantnag,” added Wani.