The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Post row hits Mufti party

Jammu, Nov. 10: Resentment is brewing among the People’s Democratic Party old guard at the way deserters from other parties have been handed top posts in the outfit.

Party chief Mehbooba Mufti, daughter of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, announced a new organisational set-up last month. Those who deserted the National Conference and the Congress during or after the October 2002 Assembly elections have been accorded more importance than PDP loyalists.

Most of the new entrants have been given top party slots, prompting senior leaders to express their displeasure to Mehbooba. The party chief had tried to strike a balance in the new set-up by ensuring that all regions and communities were adequately represented.

Representatives from all regions other than Ladakh have been allotted top posts as have Sikhs, Scheduled Castes, Gujjars, Shias and Paharis.

Founder leaders of the PDP are feeling sidelined in the new set-up and are unhappy at having to take orders from those who joined the outfit after the elections.

Prominent Sikh leader Sardar Rangil Singh, formerly of the National Conference, has been made senior vice-president even though he has been in the party for less than a year. Master Tassaduq Hussain, a founder general secretary, will now be required to work under Rangil. Hussain has been promoted to vice-president, but is not happy at having to serve under a new entrant.

The old guard is most annoyed at the nomination of Agha Sayeed Mahmoom as vice-president. A sulking Agha was minister of state for education in the Farooq Abdullah government before joining the party in October last year on being denied an election ticket.

Senior leaders say Agha has hardly been seen in any party meeting and would not know even a dozen PDP leaders. As such, his nomination has shocked the old guard.

The nomination of Romesh Mottan and Mohammad Sharief Tariq as general secretaries has not gone down well either. A Congress leader who has never won an Assembly election, Mottan joined the outfit via the Nationalist Congress Party just two months ago.

Tariq has not been in his new party for a year either, and is yet to familiarise himself with its organisational network. He was a cabinet minister in the Farooq Abdullah government but switched to the PDP after being denied a ticket for the Rajouri seat during the last Assembly polls.

Two members of the old guard from Jammu have been rehabilitated — Tirlok Singh Bajwa has been rewarded with a Rajya Sabha seat and Ved Mahajan with a legislative council seat. But both continue to sulk as they have been removed as general secretaries.

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