Sajad Lone led PC ‘divorces’ PAGD

Flags fielding of proxy candidates in DDC pollsSrinagar, Jan 19:Sajad Gani Lone-led People’s Conference (PC) Tuesday pulled out of the  People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) citing “breach of trust between the partners” during the recently concluded District Development Council (DDC) polls.In a three page letter to PAGD, President Farooq Abdullah, Lone said the purpose and sentiment of the PAGD was not being followed on the ground.Lone alleged that the party fielding the candidate on behalf of the PAGD was left to fend for itself while other constituents compounded the problem by putting up proxy candidates.He further alleged the votes polled against the PAGD in the recently concluded DDC polls were majorly votes cast by “proxies” of Alliance constituent parties against the official candidates.“We convened a meeting of our leaders yesterday and deliberated on the issue in detail. The predominant feeling in the meeting was that the PAGD sentiment at the top was not emulated on the ground. It was felt that the results of a sincere alliance should have meant that ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’,” the letter reads.“This alliance needed sacrifice. Every party had to sacrifice on the ground in terms of giving space to fellow allies. No party is willing to cede space, no party is willing to sacrifice. We fought against each other in Kashmir province, not against the perpetrators of August 5. And those who perpetrated August 5 and their minions are now vocally gleeful,” Lone said in the letter.Lone said DDC elections per se may not matter institutionally, but these elections were distinctive by virtue of the timing.“Firstly, the context of these DDC elections was politically very important. It was the first election post-August 5. It was also a combined show of strength of a majority of the JK political mainstream. It was less of an election and more of an opportunity to send a strong unanimous political message,” he said.“On the face of it, PAGD won these elections unambiguously having won the maximum number of seats. We can’t hide statistics and apart from the number of seats that PAGD won, another important statistical variable in the context of August 5 is the number of votes polled against the PAGD. We believe that the votes polled against the PAGD are majorly the votes cast by proxies of PAGD constituent parties against official PAGD candidates. And the net outcome of selectively voting for and against PAGD is a very poor vote share. This is certainly not the vote share that people of J and K deserved post-August 5,” Lone said.The major mainstream political parties including National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Jammu Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM), CPI(M), Peoples Conference (PC) fought the DDC polls “unitedly” under the umbrella of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD).The alliance swept the maiden DDC polls by winning 110 seats. The alliance was formed to work for the restoration of J&K’s special status.Lone claimed that people know that blinded by political greed, PAGD fielded candidates against each other and now they are questioning alliance’s credibility. “Out here in Srinagar where we hold our apex body meetings, we look at the statistics but out there on the ground people look at our actions and our intentions. They are eyewitnesses to our actions. They are the actors in the political theatre scripted by us. And we think that people don’t know what we were up to. People know that blinded by political greed we fielded candidates against each other and the question they are asking, ‘if we can’t trust the PAGD leadership on something as basic as a DDC seat how can we trust them for larger issues.’ We might have inflicted irreversible damage on to ourselves and on to the very people that we are supposed to represent. Trust between allying partners who have been rivals all along can be very elusive and extremely fragile proxies have made it perpetually elusive,” he said.Lone said it is difficult for them (PC) to stay on and pretend as if nothing has happened.“There has been a breach of trust between partners which we believe is beyond remedy. The majoritarian view in our party is we should pull out of the alliance in an amicable manner rather than waiting for things to get messier. And I am confirming that we will no longer be a part of the PAGD alliance,” Lone said.Lone said that he would, however, want to add that they are divorcing from the alliance, not its objectives.“We will continue to adhere to the objectives that we set out when this alliance was made. And the PAGD leadership should be assured that we will extend support on all issues which fall within the ambit of stated objectives. We have issued clear instructions to all party leaders not to issue any statements against PAGD alliance or its leaders,” he said.PC has held a marathon party meeting on Monday to deliberate on recent political developments with his senior party leaders including Vice President Imran Raza Ansari and Abdul Gani Vakil.Both leaders had raised objections about the party’s continuing support to  PAGD accusing alliance parties of fielding proxy candidates against each other during the recently held DDC Polls.This was the first meeting of PC after the open dissent of two senior leaders, who have called Sajad Lone publically to snap ties with the Gupkar Alliance.  PAGD fall earlier than anticipated: BukhariCalling the exit of Peoples Conference from PAGD a formal beginning of the collapse of an ‘unprincipled and an opportunistic alliance’, Apni Party President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Tuesday said the development has taken place much earlier than anticipated by the people.Since its inception, Bukhari observed that PAGD leadership indulged in fraud, deceit and emotional blackmailing of the people just to make its constituent parties politically relevant and reap the electoral dividends in the recently concluded DDC elections.“This development has happened sooner than even what we had thought. This whole political exercise carried out by the PAGD signatories was a pretense and façade to drain the sentiments of people and use them for their electoral numbers. Time has come when the NC and PDP leadership should go for serious introspection and shun further exploitation of the public,” Bukhari remarked.Apni Party president reiterated that the “so called” Peoples’ Alliance had already felt heat from the people who wanted results from it on its poll promises and tall claims made by its leadership since its formation.“These parties have always been duping the electorate of J&K on different slogans. But now nobody in J&K is ready to buy their slogans and get used by these opportunistic political parties for their lust of power. By and large people had already predicted the fall of this amalgam at the hands of fledgling parties,” he said.Bukhari said that with the exit of PC from the so called ‘Gupkar Alliance’, people must have come to know who are the actual B-Teams and who are the king’s party. “Those who until recently would call us names must have by now realized and known about the actual B-Teams,” he added.Apni Party President said that his party stands committed to truthful politics and would never indulge in political rhetoric or any kind of gimmickry which has always been the hallmark of the constituents of this so-called ‘grand alliance’ in J&K. Alliance will end soon: BJP   BJP’s Kashmir unit on Tuesday said that their predictions about the People Alliance for Gupkar Alliance (PAGD) turned right.Party’s Media Incharge and youth leader Manzoor Bhat said they had already predicted the outcome of the Gupkar Gang and stated that they have deceived the people for the sake of the power. “Today Sajad Lone has left the gang group and in coming days Mehbooba Mufti will leave them. NC was already aiming for these developments and to get rid of these parties,” he said. Bhat said in upcoming days people of Jammu and Kashmir will see that Mehbooba Mufti would also leave the group and gang drama will be over. “If they were claiming that joined hands together to restore the special status then why there was so hue and cry over seat sharing and setting of proxy candidates,” he said. Bhat said BJP  had won the maximum share in the recent District Development Council (DDC) elections and they will prove their loyalty to the people of J&K. “They trusted and voted for us and we will fulfill all the promises that party made during elections and would not devise people like PAGD leaders, he added. Sajad  should revisit the decision: Tarigami CPI (M) leader Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami today called asked the Sajad Lone to revisit the decesion.”This is very sad and unfortunate. The situation as it persists demands more unified efforts , there can be some degree of disagreement but legitimacy should not have been compromised of the various basis structures of which all pledged to be together.”” There can be some sort of lackness. Everything happened hurriedly. When the DDC elections happened, we were in Jammu to meet civil society members, Political leaders to chalk out strategies on how to move forward. The concerns of PC about proxy candidates can be true but we had decided to achieve our goal together. It should have been preferred. I won’t suggest him, I won’t advise him. But I am hurt,” he told KNS.Tarigami who is also part of PAGD said, “I wants Sajad Lone to rethink over the decision and Farooq Abdullah to take a view of all concerns so that the forward journey is smooth.”(KNS)Sajad’s pulling out of alliance is no setback to PAGD: Masudi Reacting to the pulling out of the PAGD alliance by the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference, senior National Conference leader and member parliament Hasnain Masudi said that it is not a setback to the alliance.Talking exclusively to the news agency KNS, Hasnain Masudi said that he does not see it as a setback to the alliance, which was formed to fight for the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir on democratic principles. “In a democracy, everyone has the right to stay in any alliance or pull out of that at his will. If Sajad Lone thinks it was a right decision to pull out of the alliance so be it, however, this is not a setback to the alliance,” Masudi said.He said that the purpose of the alliance was to restore the status of Jammu and Kashmir that it had before August 05, 2019, and the alliance is well on track and “hopefully” it will achieve the desired results with the support of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.Masudi said that if Sajad Lone has a change of heart in the coming days, he is welcome as the alliance was formed keeping in view the basic principles of democracy.On being about any suggestions to Dr Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti after the pullout of Sajad Lone from the alliance, Masudi said that they must stand united and they should believe that the path they have chosen is for the welfare of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the coming generations. “Everyone who is in the alliance has a belief that they are on the right track. DDC elections were a challenge for every one of us and we overcame that challenge despite many hurdles. The success of the PAGD in the DDC elections should not be downplayed,” he said. He said that the success of PAGD in the DDC elections was encouraging and he feels that there is no setback to the alliance in any way and everyone is acknowledging the support PAGD got during the DDC elections.He also said that it was a major milestone that PAGD achieved during the DDC elections despite several challenges.Earlier, during the day People’s Conference chairman, Sajad Gani Lone wrote a letter to PAGD president Dr Farooq Abdullah stating that he was no longer part of the alliance due to “breach of trust”. (KNS)

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