As the public wrangling between senior ruling National Conference leaders grow shriller, recently-expelled chief spokesman Mustafa Kamal, also brother of NC president Farooq Abdullah, on Wednesday came out to douse the passions saying “the statements made by the leaders were in bad taste but reflects democratic set up of the party with several decades of history”.
“The statements made by (Ghulam Nabi) Rattanpuri and Mubarak Gul are not in good taste. However, it will not have any negative impact on the party, which is not an outcome of the militancy but a product of sufferings of people of Kashmir,” said Kamal.
Kamal recently faced axe from his party post after he attacked the coalition partner Congress and accused the army of launching grenade attacks to scuttle the chief minister’s move to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from parts of Kashmir.
Since then many party leaders have come out in open against each other and left the party cadre gasping in awe. “We have never witnessed public mudslinging between NC parliamentarian and the chief minister’s advisor before. This will not bore well for the party cadre,” said Muhammad Ameen, an old party worker from downtown Srinagar’s Zaina Kadal area.
The unrest within the party has come at a time when its opponent Peoples Conference (PC) is poaching on the party cadre in Srinagar. At least 541 NC workers have joined Sajad Lone led PC in the last two months. The NC will face tough competition in upcoming local bodies’ polls not only from the Peoples Democratic Party but also smaller parties and independents.
“The wrangling will not weaken the party. In fact, it will strengthen the party as it reflects democracy within,” said Kamal adding “there were many attempts to belittle the party in the past but have failed because of the party’s rich history and rich contribution”.
After the recent Kamal controversy, the statements made by Ratanpuri and Gul has the party in bad spotlight again. “Political advisor of the chief minister is responsible for disenchantment and unrest within the NC and the government…There is gradual disempowerment of Kashmiris as the state has turned into a police state,” said Ratanpuri, who represents the party in Raj Sabha.
Retorting to Rattanpuri’s insinuation, Gul said: “Rattanpuri, who was till the other day a small time broadcaster with the Radio Kashmir, could not digest his elevation to the Rajya Sabha and having failed to perform his duties by making absurd, frivolous baseless statements”.
Claiming that Rattanpuri was targeting junior Abdullah, Gul said if Rattanpuri had the courage of conviction he should test his strength in the court of the people.
Kamal, however, seeks the party president’s intervention. “The NC president should intervene. Rattanpuri has gone overboard and should keep his humble background in mind. He has a personal grouse against a police officer. Gul has also responded unsavory way. Personal attack is not good politics any day,” advised Kamal to these leaders.