Tariq Hameed Karra, who just resigned from the PDP and as a Member of Parliament, was a founding member of the party and the former J&K Finance Minister. This leaves the PDP with only one MP. Earlier, Mehbooba Mufti, who was also an MP, resigned to become the Chief Minister.
So, the beleaguered party now looks forward to two bye-elections, which it is likely to lose following the drastic dent in its public support during the ongoing unrest.
However, Karra’s resignation is unlikely to make any difference to the PDP in power. Karra as an MP wielded little influence in the state government and was no longer an important member of the PDP’s core group. Karra’s fulminations against alliance with the BJP over the past two years were perceived as the result of a “deliberate division of labour” within the PDP.
Same is the case with another party founder Muzaffar Hussain Beigh, who recently said that Mehbooba should resign if she thinks that she can’t handle the prevailing unrest.
“I resigned in protest against the naked brutalities against the people,” Karra told Narada News. “And I leave it to the conscience of the other PDP legislators what they want to”.
Referring ostensibly to the coterie around Mehbooba, Karra once again accused “some leaders” for turning the PDP away from its ideological moorings. “These political toddlers and political paratroopers have moved the PDP away from its cherished ideals for the sake of power,” he said.
But Karra has certainly created a moral dilemma for the PDP. Over the past two months, the party’s credibility has been hit hard. Mehbooba, who was known for her soft separatist politics, is now being closely identified with the RSS.
The PDP, however, has shown no sign of quitting the government. The existing situation is such that the intermittent expressions of discomfort notwithstanding, Mehbooba has reiterated her marriage vows with the BJP, affirming that the coalition will last the term as has BJP leader Ram Madhav, one of the chief architects of the alliance. But at the same time, both parties are ensuring that they stake out their political territories, assert their ideological purity and lob an occasional grenade at each other.
And through it all, the parties have resorted to a subtle ideological and political trade-off whereby the deeply contentious issues like Sainik colonies, the separate enclaves for Kashmiri Pandits and the withdrawal of AFSPA have been put on the back-burner.
While PDP, a putative soft-separatist party, plays up the fact that it stalled the Sangh Parivar bid to repeal Article 370, the BJP has moved the political discourse on Kashmir away from the resolution of the dispute to the integration of the state into India.
Now with Karra gone, all eyes are on another founding leader of the party Muzaffar Beigh, the only remaining MP. Beigh has also been a dissenter, but he hasn’t been against the alliance with BJP. In fact, he had emerged as the biggest champion of the PDP-BJP coalition soon after the election results were declared towards 2014 end. So much so that PDP had to bar him from jumping the gun on the issue. The party later appointed Naeem Akhter as its sole spokesman. An education minister now, Akhter continues to be the party spokesman.
Beigh was also sidelined from the negotiations for formulation of an Agenda of Alliance with BJP which were conducted by Dr Haseeb Drabu, now J&K finance minister.