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Mehbooba Mufti Accuses National Conference of Reducing PAGD to a ‘Joke’ – News18

Last Updated: March 08, 2024, 20:33 IST

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti during a party meeting, in Jammu. (PTI file photo)

PAGD is an alliance of five political parties seeking the restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir which was revoked by the Centre in 2019

Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti on Friday accused the National Conference (NC) of reducing the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) to a ”joke” after the Farooq Abdullah-led party unilaterally decided to contest all three Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir.

PAGD is an alliance of five political parties seeking the restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir which was revoked by the Centre in 2019.

Addressing a press conference at the party office here, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said the NC’s decision was ”disappointing” and a ”setback to the hopes of the people of J&K”.

”Omar (Abdullah) has himself said that the PDP is out of the alliance. You can see who has broken the alliance. We did not. This was a unique alliance, it is disappointing to see it shattered. They have reduced PAGD to a joke,” Mufti said when asked if the NC’s decision meant the alliance was broken.

The NC has announced the party would contest all the three seats in the Kashmir valley and asked the Congress to contest on two seats in the Jammu region. The party also said there would be a consensus candidate of NC and Congress on the Ladakh seat.

Jammu and Kashmir has five Lok Sabha seats, including two from the Jammu region, while Ladakh has one. In the last elections, while the NC won all the three seats from the valley, the BJP won the two Jammu seats as well as the lone Ladakh seat.

Mufti, however, said the PDP was still a part of the INDIA bloc and the party would discuss the future strategy with the Congress.

”We will discuss with the Congress and not take a unilateral decision. We will also deliberate it within the party and soon take a decision on it (contesting the Lok Sabha polls),” she added.

She said it was ”difficult to see the unity break”.

”I regret that what we nurtured for five years has been shattered,” she said. The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said had the NC leadership discussed the issue with her, the PDP could have let the NC contest on all the three seats in the valley.

”There used to be a discussion on smaller issues within the PAGD, but the NC took such a decision without consulting us,” she said, adding what the BJP couldn’t do (breaking PAGD), has been done by a member of the alliance.

She said her party has always thought about the larger cause and through the PAGD, wanted a message to go out to the country that the parties in Jammu and Kashmir were united.

”When INDIA alliance took shape, I told them Farooq Abdullah will take a decision on the seat sharing in J&K as he is the senior most leader. The people of Jammu and Kashmir had hopes from PAGD and the INDIA alliance. But, the NC’s decision is a huge setback,” she said.

Mufti said her party may be down, but ”we are not out”.

”I am a fighter. We wanted an understanding and to not contest against each other. Our opponent is dangerous. With this decision, the NC has changed the goalpost as it has made us come face to face when we wanted to fight the bigger enemy.

”However, I want to say that the PDP maybe down, but we are not out. We will go to the people and present our case as it is really important to have a voice in the Parliament. The Muslims of the country look up to that voice,” she added.

She also said alliance for the parliamentary polls was not a ”big thing” for her, but she wanted unity.

”There are bigger challenges before Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)

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