NEWS
21/11/2018 10:50 AM IST | Updated 21/11/2018 10:50 AM IST

PDP's Muzaffar Hussain Baig To Consider Joining Sajad Lone-Led Third Front

Blaming the PDP for failing to deliver to the people, Muzaffar Hussain Baig hit out at his party for boycotting the civic body and panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
A file photo of Muzaffar Hussain Baig.

SRINAGAR — Signalling revolt in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), its founding member and Lok Sabha MP from Baramulla, Muzaffar Hussain Baig, on Tuesday announced that he would "seriously consider" joining a third front led by People's Conference leader Sajad Lone.

Blaming the PDP for failing to deliver to the people, he hit out at his party for boycotting the civic body and panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir, saying "the PDP betrayed the workers, denying them a chance to connect with the people, by boycotting the elections. They left a vacuum and that space has now been occupied. Politics does not wait for people who boycott".

Talking to reporters at his residence, he said he was not consulted when the party took the decision to boycott the local body polls. "I was in Delhi, just a phone call away. I remained quiet because I did not want the PDP to fall asunder," he said.

Reacting to speculations that the PDP and arch rival National Conference might join hands to form a government in the state to foil the BJP's attempts at government formation, Baig said the PDP was formed to end the family rule and bring in democracy.

"Now this talk of NC-PDP alliance. How will people of Jammu react? How will people of Ladakh react? It will be an alliance of one religion...Jammu would not like it, Ladakh will not remain part of the state. This will lead to trifurcation of the state," he warned.

Asked if he would quit the PDP, the Baramulla MP said he would await a response from the party leadership before taking the step.

"I have not made up my mind. I will have to think about it. It is very difficult to resign from a party which I have formed," he said.

Asked if he would join an alternative front to the National Conference and PDP, Baig said, "I will seriously consider joining the third front if it emerges."

He said he has not been contacted by the BJP or Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone so far.

"Sajad Lone is like my son. I had contested the elections that led to registration of Peoples Conference as a political party. If Sajad (Lone) is interested in (formation of third front), it should be encouraged. People want something different from the beaten track," Baig said.

"Sajad has not contacted me directly. The BJP has not contacted me (on government formation or third front formation). However, there are people within the party (PDP) who want an elected government," he added.

Lone took to Twitter soon after Baig addressed a press conference, and said, "I am humbled by Muzaffar Baig Sahib's statement. A person of his stature, experience and intellect can be the defining attribute of the emerging third party @JKPC_ I remember him as my favourite uncle during my childhood. I was his pampered brat."

Responding to the possibility of either NC or PDP getting absolute majority in future assembly elections, Baig said, "It will be foolish of me to think that NC or PDP will ever get a majority. There was a wave in 2014 (assembly elections) and we (PDP) still could not get 30 seats."

On the PDP-BJP alliance, he said it did not live up to the expectation of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

"The alliance, if it had been implemented properly, was a chance to tell the Muslims of India that they were safe. We failed to form a real alliance with the BJP, we remained aloof. The ministers were not intermingling," he said.

Baig blamed the PDP for failing to deliver on the development front during its alliance with the BJP in the state government.

"There was development deficiency during those two-and-half years. Funds were not utilised or were not released. No proposals were sent to the Centre (for development works) because the Centre does not release any funds without proposals," he said.

Baig said the mistakes of politicians in the past were responsible for militancy in the state and the killings which are taking place, irrespective which side they belong to.