Gupkar Alliance puts up brave face after Sajjad Lone’s exit
- CPI (M) general secretary Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami who is one of the senior most leaders of the Gupkar Alliance said Sajjad Lone could have raised the issues internally instead of exiting.
A day after Peoples’ Conference leader Sajjad Lone pulled his party out of the Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD or Gupkar Alliance), two other leaders of the grouping said it will continue to work for people of Jammu and Kashmir and restoration of the erstwhile state's special status.
CPI (M) general secretary Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami who is one of the senior most leaders of the alliance said that while Lone’s exit is unfortunate it is not a setback.
Lone, who was also the PAGD spokesperson. had exited over the issue of fielding of proxy candidates by constituent parties against the officially mandated candidates of the alliance during District Development Council (DDC) elections in November-December.
"The exit of Sajjad Lone is not good for alliance or people. The DDC elections took place soon after the PAGD was formed. No one denies that there could have been shortcomings in the PAGD but they could have been rectified from within and not from the outside," Tarigami said.
He also said the PAGD leadership will be meeting soon to discuss pressing matters. "We need to broaden the base of the alliance by including more people and groups as we have not reached a significant section of people in J&K and Ladakh. We alone can’t fight it and need more people and groups as part of the alliance."
Awami National Conference vice president, Muzaffar Shah who is also senior member of PAGD said that the alliance came into being for the restoration of Articles 370 and 35A and that Lone was wrong to quit.
"Elections are a minor thing. If Lone took a decision it was his choice but to me his decision was wrong. PAGD is much stronger even today. All three regions are together for the restoration of Articles 370 and 35 A. The matter is in court. Our case in the court is water tight. Let the court begin its hearing and you will see what PAGD will do. Our job is to get the crown back," said Shah who is a nephew of Farooq Abdullah.
He said that it is the Centre’s effort to weaken the PAGD’s fight for the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. "Our minor issues will not weaken our major resolve."
On Tuesday, Lone wrote to PAGD chairperson and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah saying that the Peoples’ Conference decided to part ways with the PAGD over the issue of fielding of proxy candidates by constituent parties against the officially mandated candidates of the alliance during DDC elections.
“No party is willing to cede space; no party is willing to sacrifice. We fought against each other in Kashmir province not against the perpetrators of August 5 (2019). And those who perpetrated August 5 and their minions are now vocally gleeful. It is difficult for us to stay on and pretend as if nothing has happened,” Lone wrote.
“Trust between allying partners who have been rivals all along can be very elusive and extremely fragile. Proxies have made it perpetually elusive. This alliance needed sacrifice,” he said.
The PAGD was formed on October 20, 2020 after six political parties, some of them rivals, – National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, CPI (M), Awami National Conference, Peoples’ Conference and Peoples’ Movement came together to fight for the restoration of special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution that was revoked by the Centre on August 5, 2019.
Sources said Lone's exit from the PAGD could give his party a chance to head the chairmanship of two DDC councils in Kupwara and Baramulla districts. The Peoples’ Conference leadership was already eyeing those two districts in north Kashmir which it considers as its bastion.