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J&K Lens: People’s Conference pulls out of PAGD, serves body blow to campaign of restoration of Article 370 to J&K

20/01/2021 at 12:35 PM

By Arun Joshi

First wicket of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration has fallen  earlier than anticipated – People’s Conference of Sajad Gani Lone has announced its divorce from the PAGD and as the spell of the uncertainties is thickening , the falling apart of the Alliance looks more likely in the times to come which would inflict damage to its pledge to restore the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir as also the statehood with reunification of Ladakh with J&K.

People’s Alliance on Tuesday  announced the departure from the Alliance by raising issues of proxy candidates against the officially mandated candidates by the PAGD and went on to say that the people’s trust has been broken and also admitted that an “ irreversible damage” has been caused to the “ larger issue” that they had promised to the people in Kashmir.

In a strongly worded letter Lone wrote to the PAGD President Farooq Abdullah, who also is president of National  Conference, “ the 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.”

This  reflected a widespread  disappointment of the people in Kashmir  who had  invested their hopes in the PAGD for working together  for restoration of the special status and statehood of J&K as it existed on August 4, 2019 .

“ 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,” Lone said in the letter.

After having  said this , Sajad Lone  announced,” It is difficult for us 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 the 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.”

These words  must have come as a shock to the Alliance  partners , but the dye is cast and the future of the Alliance  is predictable – it has inherent contradictions , which have been eloquently brought out by the PAGD’s leading partner and spokesperson, that things will become messier. Its disintegration s just a matter of time.

People’s Conference had  won substantial number of seats in Kupwara district in the north-west of Kashmir . It wanted to  form the DDC on its own, with no connect with the Alliance.

Few days ago, Sajad Lone had visited Delhi and met union Home Minister Amit Shah. This was a clear indication that the People’s Conference would not stay on in the Alliance anymore. Lone’s close aides, particularly prominent Shia leader Imran  Raza Ansari was also pushing for departure from the PAGD.

The future of the PAGD had started looking uncertain after almost all its constituents started pitching for higher number of seats in the DDC polls , and wherever they could not get the seats, they fielded the proxy candidates, exposing the individual political ambition of leaders and the parties.

The objective, it seemed, was to showcase the individual performance rather than the collective one. These fissures also demonstrated their less than complete commitment to the restoration of Article 370 and special status of  Jammu and Kashmir, as it had promised at the launch of the Alliance .

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