Jammu: Sulking over denial of weighty portfolio to separatist-turned-politican Sajjad Lone, his party People's Conference today issued a veiled threat that it may consider quitting the ruling coalition of PDP-BJP in Jammu and Kashmir.
Lone refused to take charge of ministry of Science and Technology or Animal Husbandry and instead left for Srinagar where he remained closeted with his associate. The party will meet in Handwara to decide on future course of action.
People's Conference, which has two MLAs, also termed as betrayal on part of the BJP which has found a new friend in PDP.
The party's MLA Bashir Ahmed Dar told PTI tonight that the People's Conference's treatment was a lesson for others. “It is unfortunate.. do not know why they (BJP) are treating us differently now...Under whose influence they are doing it”, Dar questioned BJP.
“Now BJP might be thinking that they have befriended PDP what is need of the Peoples Conference now as compared to the past,” he told PTI here.
He said Lone did not assume charge of his ministries and instead took the first flight out of Jammu today for Srinagar after surrendering all entitlements including security, official vehicle as a cabinet Minister.
He made it clear that Lone will not join and went on to say that “we have been betrayed (by the BJP)”. “It was a gift of animal husbandry to Sajjad Lone. It is humiliation to us and people we represented. we will not join..”, Dar said.
Taking a dig at BJP, the PC leader said, “We are not sold out but we have been voted by the people not anybody else..people feel humiliated”.
“Nobody talked to us—they did not even take our consent (on inclusion in the ministry)..”Our supporters are unhappy and annoyed and they have been continuously advising Lone not to assume charge of his portfolios,” Dar said. On the question of his stepping down, Dar said, “He has not resigned as yet. We will have to take consent of the people and will be decided by party”.
He said the party will call a meeting and will chalk out strategy for future after taking all the supporters into confidence. “Whatever, we have to do in future, we will do it with the consent of our supporters,” he said.
While PDP has distanced itself from this development saying it was an issue between BJP and People's Conference and “we have nothing to say”, BJP spokesman and Vice President of the state unit Ramesh Arora said, “we will be able to say anything after we speak to Lone.”
The People's Conference has two MLAs and Lone was accommodated in the state cabinet in the BJP quota.
In a related development, there were some heart burns within the PDP as well. Some of the party MLAs from Pulwama district had protested over their non-inclusion in the state cabinet despite having won two to three times.
One of the senior minister Abdul Rehman Veeri, a four-time MLA of PDP, is also reported to be upset over the portfolio allocation and is understood to have conveyed his displeasure to the party high command.