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By axing PDP minister, CM Mufti adding to her problems

S P Sharma | Jammu |

Having one by one axed three core members of the ruling PDP, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has opened yet another front to deal within the party and the governmental set up.

Mehbooba is already facing the crisis with her coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) raising fingers at several of her decisions that are being described as “anti-Jammu” and she has opened another front by sacking her trusted finance minister Haseeb Drabu who is not only a senior member of the PDP but also architect of the party’s agenda of alliance with the BJP.

She has already eroded lot of her political base in the Kashmir valley that was nurtured by her father Mufti Sayeed over the years. However, the PDP speedily started losing ground in the valley after his death resulting in the Opposition National Conference recover there.

Drabu is third among the PDP leaders sidelined by Mehbooba and the others were Muzaffar Hussain Beig and Hameed Karra. Karra, who had won the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat as PDP candidate, did not relish the party forging alliance with BJP and some time ago resigned the seat and also from the party to join Congress. The seat has been won by Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference in the by-election that was held due to Karra’s resignation.

Drabu, who has been sacked from the ministry for having said in a function at Delhi that the “Kashmir problem was not political”, has reportedly felt insulted the way he was removed without being given an opportunity to explain his position. He learnt in the media reports about Mehbooba’s decision to drop him from the ministry.

“While I understand and accept the decision of the party, but to talk to media before informing me, was painful. I was not accorded the opportunity to explain the context and the content of my speech”, he said.

A top constitutional lawyer and one of the founders of the PDP, Muzaffar Hussain Beig, who was finance minister in the cabinet of Mufti Sayeed, is also reportedly sidelined within the party these days where a coterie led by Mehbooba’s maternal uncle, Sartaj Madni was reportedly calling the shots.

Madni was an important office bearer of PDP also during the lifetime of Mufti Sayeed but the latter was a shrewd politician and would not let grass grow under his feet. However, Madni has become an important power centre in the party after Mufti Sayeed’s death.

The political base of PDP particularly in Kashmir has suffered a major dent during the past two years and by dumping senior members of the party Mehbooba was multiplying problems for herself, political observers say.