[Reader-list] PDP's Delhi handlers!

Wali Arifi waliarifi3 at gmail.com
Fri Apr 4 02:57:59 IST 2008

* Mufti's party tries to shake off its ' Delhi masters'*

By Parvaiz Bukhari in Srinagar

THE People's Democratic Party ( PDP)' s president Mehbooba Mufti has
unveiled her " selfrule" plan for an undivided Kashmir and quashed
allegations that her party is a creation of Indian intelligence agencies.
She announced her grand plan to resolve the Kashmir issue at the recent
Pugwash conference in Pakistan, of all places, before it was discussed with
New Delhi or even people back home. This happened at a time when the PDP is
facing internal rebellion and criticism from the National Conference ( NC),
which alleged that her party was created and works for New Delhi's spies. To
counter the attacks from her rivals, Mufti tried to show her party's
independence and simultaneously distance the PDP from its perceived links
with the intelligence establishment. These are difficult times for the PDP
when it is preparing for the next assembly elections, slated for later this
year. Launched in 1999, ostensibly as the biggest political operation of
Indian intelligence in embattled Jammu and Kashmir, the party grew in
strength to become a formidable challenger to the NC's strong hold in the
Valley. But the party's think- tank is now finding it hard to get the
history of its making off its back and give it the status of a credible
alternative to the NC. And more so when Farooq Abdullah's NC is going
through a rough patch and the former chief minister is trying to regain his
position by attacking the PDP. " The PDP is a creation of New Delhi and (
intelligence) agencies, which are trying to divide and rule Kashmiris,"
Abdullah tells the people repeatedly. He may not be off the mark. The PDP's
foundations were laid when New Delhi began to regain control in Kashmir
after militancy struck a blow to the political power structure which existed
in the shape of the NC. In the run- up to the 1996 elections, the first
seven years, electoral politics was principally dependent on the NC. In such
a scenario, New Delhi found the NC more demanding and reminiscent of 1952
when Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah began to question the state's accession to the
Indian Union. The centre assigned former Union home minister Mufti Mohammad
Sayeed the task and he was spot on — cashing in on anti- incumbency and
other factors to rise to the chief minister's share with the Congress in
tow. But, the unpleasant history hung heavy over the party and immediately
after Sayeed stepped down as chief minister in tandem with the PDP- Congress
power- sharing deal, he and his daughter floated the " self- rule" proposal.
" It was the first attempt by the PDP to break free from any handling from
outside ( read New Delhi)," said a party rebel. Sayeed's party is using its
selfrule idea to give an impression that the Kashmir- specific component of
the Indo- Pak peace process is driven by it. But the biggest question is:
will the PDP be able to hold its flock together? Many of its founding
members are attempting to form a third front. parvaiz. bukhari@ mailtoday.


April, 3, 2008

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