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PDP MLAs Being Coerced to Leave Party With Threat of NIA Raids, Says Mehbooba Mufti

Levelling serious allegations of horse-trading at BJP without naming the party, she said that several PDP MLAs had told Mehbooba in person that tremendous pressure was being applied on them in order to wean them away from their party.

News18

Updated:July 21, 2018, 12:31 PM IST
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PDP MLAs Being Coerced to Leave Party With Threat of NIA Raids, Says Mehbooba Mufti
File photo of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
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New Delhi: Speaking for the first time on the current crisis in her party, after BJP pulled plug on the working coalition in Jammu and Kashmir, PDP party president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said that her MLAs were being coerced and threatened to leave her party with NIA raids.

Levelling serious allegations of horse-trading at BJP without naming the party, she said that several PDP MLAs had told Mehbooba in person that tremendous pressure was being applied on them in order to wean them away from their party.

"I'm not saying that New Delhi is doing it but I did talk to some people in New Delhi and told them that a perception is being created through media reports that MLAs can be bought with money or be motivated to leave PDP for important cabinet portfolios, and if they're rejecting even this, they're being threatened with NIA raids," Mehbooba Mufti told News18.

On the question of MLAs being forced out of PDP, Mehbooba added, "Kashmir is a place where separatism, mainstream politics and militancy often co-exist, but the threat of NIA was introducing an element of doubt in the valley which would threaten its fabric greatly”.

Reacting to the statements she had made about attempts to break PDP resulting in resurgence in militancy and bearing more Salahuddins, Mehbooba said, "If you break PDP, how will you face the person who braved bullets and other threats to vote for National Conference or PDP or Congress? You'll break their faith in democracy."

Such attempts, she added, would re-create situations like those of 1984, referring to the dismissal of the then Chief Minister - Farooq Abdullah, and the instatement of his estranged brother-in-law Gulam Mohammad Shah, as his replacement.

Mufti as the chief of PDP is possibly going through the toughest phase in her political career with a number of rebel MLAs openly talking about either splitting the party or dethroning her, and joining forces with the BJP. The number of such rebel MLAs, according to sources, is said to be around 15.

News18 had on July 2 broken the news of a possible break-up of PDP and a number of rebels of the breakaway faction joining forces with the BJP, after the conclusion of Amarnath Yatra, to form government in the state.

The Jammu and Kashmir assembly has 87 members, which means the halfway mark — the number of MLAs any coalition has to secure in order to stake claim to form the government — is 44. The PDP is the largest party with 28 MLAs, followed by the BJP with 25 MLAs. National Conference and Congress have 15 and 12 MLAs each. Two MLAs belong to the Sajjad Lone-headed People's Conference, one to CPI(M), one to People’s Democratic Front, and the remaining three are independents.

The BJP is the only party in J&K whose members, in the state leadership, have shown willingness to form the government. The other parties — National Conference and Congress — have privately and publicly refused the possibility of forging a coalition. Both the parties have been asking Governor NN Vohra to dissolve the House and prepare the state for fresh elections.

Senior BJP leader speaking to News18 on July 3 reacted to the charges of horse-trading by saying, “In the coming days, I see dissatisfied MLAs not just from PDP, but also from Congress and National Conference, are likely to join forces and form a new front.”
| Edited by: Parth Sharma
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