Mehbooba Mufti Struggles To Revive PDP's Fortunes In Kashmir

(MENAFN- IANS) Srinagar, May 14 (IANS) Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti is fighting a tough battle for her political survival and the revival of her party in the valley.

The battle has become interesting since its traditional rival, National Conference, became its partner when the Gupkar alliance was established to fight for the restoration of J&K's special status after the abrogation of Article 370, and the formation of the INDIA bloc.

But, both the alliances have crumbled in the union territory due to electoral compulsion, and are now once again pitted against each other in Kashmir. The PDP decided to contest three seats in Kashmir and gave two Jammu seats a miss.

PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti has been working hard to mobilise people in her favour. She has been vehemently campaigning for the restoration of the Assembly and the statehood status.

In an election rally in Budgam recently she said there has been a process of disempowerment after the abrogation of Article 370 which needs to be reversed. There is a need for elected representatives to advocate the region's issues fearlessly.

“With the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, everything is not over, since then efforts have been underway to snatch away the rights of the people and how to evict them from their lands... We are given electricity at the highest price,” she said.

PDP's candidate for Srinagar Lok Sabha Constituency Waheed Parra said that elections will help to break the "stifling silence and political vacuum" in Kashmir that has gripped the region for too long.

During her election rallies, Mehbooba Mufti targeted the BJP for the 370 abrogation move and for allegedly disempowering Kashmiris.

She, however, has not attacked the National Conference directly, emphasizing that her fight was not against the party. Her only grudge is that she was not consulted by the National Conference leadership when the party announced its candidates.

“If stone pelting has stopped, why are our youths in jails and not released? If militancy has ended why are the people being picked up, why are people sacked from government jobs on the basis of suspicion, why are there curbs on getting passports, and why are youths of Kashmir denied NOC dues to political reasons,” she said.

Mehbooba Mufti herself is a candidate for the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency of Jammu and Kashmir which spans four districts and boasts of a diverse electorate of over 17 lakh voters.

The party is banking on its old slogans like healing touch and opening the cross LoC roads besides emphasizing the party's role in alleviating the fear of violence and restoring a sense of security among the population.

Despite acknowledging grievances primarily for its alliance with the BJP that initially brought her father Mufti Sayeed to power as the Chief Minister followed by her becoming the chief minister after his death, Mehbooba is asserting that the PDP's legacy of governance, particularly during her father's tenure, remains unparalleled.

Mufti has sought to rekindle confidence in the PDP's ability to address the challenges facing the region.

But how does that stand any different from the stand of other regional parties, and how can the PDP reinvent itself and connect with the voters in the turbulent political waters of Kashmir is the party's biggest challenge.



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