Crescent Kashmir

Altaf Bukhari set to launch party in J&K

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SRINAGAR: Former PDP minister Altaf Bukhari is likely to launch his party on Sunday and many former lawmakers may join his new party, including from National Conference, PDP and BJP. According to news agencies, the new political outfit would be named “Jammu and Kashmir Apni (own) Party” (JKAP) and will be launched on Sunday.

With three former chief ministers, including Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti booked under Public Safety Act (PSA), launching of a party by Bukhari is a signal that the political process will start minus the Abudllahs and Muftis in Jammu and Kashmir. The state unit of BJP has welcomed the launch of Bukhari’s party in Jammu and Kashmir.

Altaf Bukhari had recently told media that he will not do politics on “emotions of people” but will try to bring out people of Jammu and Kashmir from the present chaos and uncertainty. He said that scrapping of Article 370 is a reality and the clock cannot be reversed. “I will work for restoration of statehood and for domicile in government jobs,” Bukhari told media.

According to political analysts, the new outfit would be a “bulwark” against traditional Kashmir-centric mainstream political parties like the National Conference (NC) and PDP. “There is a huge political space available as the main faces of NC and PDP are out of scene. Altaf Bukhari will try to get support from these political parties at the ground level,” said Manzoor Anjum, a senior local editor of Daily Uqaab.

Initially, Bukhari claimed that he waited for Mehbooba Mufti and the Abdullahs to fight for better days for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and was frustrated by their “silence”. “We cannot live on emotions and on such aims which cannot be achieved. My politics would be to provide bread and butter to the common people and bring back smiles on faces here,” Altaf told The Sunday Guardian.

Sajjad Lone of People’s Conference, along with many of his colleagues, is currently under detention. Similarly, former IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faisal has also been slapped with PSA. There is no clarity yet on whether the group led by Lone and another group led by Shah Faisal will finally join or have some alliance with Bukhari’s new outfit.

Muzzaffar Hussain Beigh, who was recently given the Padma Bhushan award and is regarded as an architect of the new political alliance led by Altaf Bukhari, has not openly come out in support of Bukhari’s efforts.

At present, Muzzaffar Beigh continues to be the chief patron of PDP under Mehbooba Mufti’s leadership. Beigh has been very close to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and supposedly has the blessing of the Centre in drafting the new domicile law for land and job protection in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sunday Guardian

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