Won’t let in leaders who left party and now willing to return: Mehbooba Mufti

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday said she is not taking back those leaders who have deserted the party even though many of them are willing to return.

Dozens of senior PDP leaders, including former ministers and legislators, left the party after the BJP withdrew its support to the Mehbooba-led coalition government in July 2018, and most of them joined the Apni Party led by Altaf Bukhari or the Peoples Conference led by Sajjad Lone.

”I have made it a principle that those who have left us will not be taken back. Many of the leaders who deserted the party are eager to return, but I am not going to take them back,” Mehbooba said, addressing a function at party headquarters here.

The PDP organised the function to welcome dozens of new entrants, including supporters of Bushan Lal Dogra, a former minister who rejoined the PDP last month. ”Dogra is like my younger brother and is a thorough gentleman I respect the most.

His case of rejoining the party is exceptional,” Mehbooba said, expressing hope that he, along with other workers, would work tirelessly for strengthening the party at the grassroots level. Launching a scathing attack on the BJP-led central government, she alleged that the ruling party is using Jammu and Kashmir as a laboratory for experimenting and has destroyed the erstwhile state.

”My request to the people is to stand up to save Jammu and Kashmir. If you can save J&K, you will save the country. But, instead, they started destroying the country from J&K,” the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said. Referring to the government’s plan to facilitate large scale investment in Jammu and Kashmir, she said,” outside investors bring their labour force along with them while they have their contribution in the apartments planned to be built by the big real estate investors.”

She accused the BJP of launching an eviction drive to retrieve the land from the hapless poor people, irrespective of their religion, creed or caste. ”Under BJP rule, the rich are becoming richer while as the number of poor had doubled with youth becoming jobless and inflation touching the sky,” she said.

Praising her party workers, Mehbooba said it is heartening to see the dream of party founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed becoming a reality with each passing day. ”I am seeing concern for people of Kashmir growing in Jammu. Mufti wanted to see the two regions stand together and understand each other’s pain. This is happening today,” she said.