New Party Launch Delay Amid Head Tussle

Srinagar, Mar 03 : The launch of new political front in Jammu and Kashmir is getting delayed amid difference as to whether former J&K finance Minister Syed Altaf Bukhari or his former PDP colleague and ex-Deputy Chief Minister in erstwhile state Muzaffar Hussain Beigh would head it.

Beigh has not so far publically announced his dissociation from the PDP and if sources are to be believed, the centre wants him to lead the new front, the idea of which was first publically announced by Bukhari.

“There are clear directions from top leadership of the country that the party should be headed by Beigh,” the sources said. At the same time, the possible entrants including some former ministers and MLAs of the erstwhile state are throwing weight behind Bukhari. “The discussions are centered over the leadership and if concerned are able to settle the leadership issue, the new party will see the light of the day possibly this week or next week,” the sources said, “It is not that Bukhari would not get a say in the new party but he has been asked to be second in command.”

Repeated attempts to contact Muzaffar Hussain Beigh did not fructify even as those close to him underlined that “it was still premature”. Altaf Bukhari when contacted by GNS declined to comment, saying he was busy in some meeting.

Recently, it has been learnt that Senior Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) leader and the party’s in-charge of Kashmir Affairs Ram Madhav met Bukhari and other people tipped to join the new party.

Bukhari, an influential businessman, has already held several meetings in connection with the launch of new party. The meeting was attended by a few political leaders, academicians, social activists and some lawyers, sources said.

In a first political reach-out in Valley post scrapping of Article 370, Bukahri led eight former ministers and MLAs, mostly from PDP, to have a meeting with Lieutenant Governor G C Murmu.

A few days later, the delegation met envoys of 16 countries in Srinagar.

Bukhari was expelled by the PDP last year. He had also praised the Modi government for ensuring no loss of life in the Kashmir Valley after the revocation of Article 370 and 35A in August 5.

On January 9 last, the PDP expelled eight party leaders — Dilawar Mir, Rafi Ahmad Mir, Zaffar Iqbal, Abdul Majeed Padroo, Raja Manzoor Khan, Javaid Hussain Baig, Qamar Hussain, Abdul Rahim Rather besides Shah Mohammad Tantray – couple of days after they accompanied Bukahri to meet Lt Governor. (GNS)