Mehbooba Mufti’s uncle resigns as PDP vice-president to placate rebels
Mehbooba was under pressure to revamp the party’s leadership for the past many days. PDP sources close to the former chief minister termed it as the first step towards a reshuffle in the party.india Updated: Jul 23, 2018 17:59 IST
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s uncle Sartaj Madni on Monday resigned as the vice-president of the Peoples Democratic Party, in a step which is being seen as an attempt to appease legislators who have openly revolted against her and accused her of “promoting dynastic politics”.
Sartaj Madni, who is Mehbooba’s maternal uncle, sent his resignation to the PDP president in the morning.
“I have submitted my resignation in the interests of the party and its cadres,’’ Madni said.
The PDP’s chief spokesperson Rafi Mir confirmed to the Hindustan Times that Madni has submitted his resignation.
“I don’t know whether it has been accepted or not,’’ Mir added.
Mehbooba was under pressure to revamp the party’s leadership for the past many days. PDP sources close to the former chief minister termed it as the first step towards a reshuffle in the party.
Six legislators had accused Mehbooba of promoting her close relatives and turning the PDP into her family fiefdom after the coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew its support and she resigned as the chief minister on June 19.
The rebellion within the PDP is being led by Imran Reza Ansari, a former minister and prominent Shia leader who is the legislator from Pattan. Later, five other legislators joined Ansari and demanded that Mehbooba must remove her close relatives from the party.
They pointed out that Mufti gave several relatives important assignments in the party and government. Her brother Tasaduq Mufti was brought into the cabinet, Madni was given an important position in the PDP, and other relatives were also given important assignments in the party and government, they said.
Madni was appointed as the PDP’s vice-president last year by Mehbooba after sidelining several top leaders of the party. He lost the assembly election from south Kashmir but was given an important portfolio as Mehbooba wanted to tighten her family’s grip over the party after the death of her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
“When Mehbooba Mufti was running the affairs of the state as the chief minister, it was Madni who was the most powerful person within the party. Even legislators would have to approach to him for redressals of grievances,’’ said a party legislator.
Madni is the first close relative of the former chief minister to relinquish his post voluntarily.
A Lok Sabha MP and three legislators of the PDP skipped a meeting chaired by Mehbooba in Srinagar, signalling further dissent against the former chief minister. Before that, two PDP legislators from south Kashmir did not attend a meeting Mehbooba called last Tuesday.
Sources said the PDP president is planning to go for further revamp in the party and give fresh faces some important posts after the foundation day rally in Srinagar on Saturday. They also said that a senior party leader will replace Madni as the PDP’s vice-president.
They added several other steps could also be taken to placate the aggrieved legislators. Former deputy chief minister and MP Baramulla Muzzuffar Hussain Baig could be assigned as an important portfolio in the party, they added.
PDP leaders said Safeena, Baig’s wife who is heading the women wing of the PDP, will be given more responsibilities to keep her husband in a good humour.
They said the steps also became necessary as Baig’s nephew Javeed Baig, who is legislator from Baramulla, is on the forefront of the rebel group.
First Published: Jul 23, 2018 17:55 IST