Srinagar, Feb 23: Former minister Altaf Bukhari and his team are in the process of framing the constitution of ‘Apni Party’, the third front being formed to kick-start the stalled political process in Kashmir, courtesy Centre’s detention of major political players.
“The draft constitution has entered its final stage and is awaiting approval. We will declare our party anytime as all the formalities have been completed,” Bukhari said in an exclusive chat with The Kashmir Monitor.
‘Apni Party’ is meant to work as a third front to resume political activities in Kashmir at a time when three former CMs and other major political leaders are facing PSAs and detention since August when J&K simultaneously lost its statehood and special status.
Bukhari, a former PDP Minister, has been busy lately in garnering support of those political leaders, who managed to remain free, possibly in lieu of their silence.
On Saturday, Bukhari met BJP National General Secretary, Ram Madhav in Gulmarg, who, interestingly, a day after said that he wants the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to become conducive for normal political activity to resume.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, senior Congress leader and former MLA Bandipora Usman Majeed resigned from the party to join hands with Bukhari.
Besides Usman, Bukhari’s team, so far, includes former MLA Ghulam Hassan Mir, and former PDP leaders Dilwar Mir, Javaid Beigh, Noor Muhammad Shiekh, Rafi Ahmad Mir, Abdul Majeed Paddar, and Abdul Raheem Rather.
The buzz of a ‘third front’ was further confirmed when in January these former MLAs met Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu and envoys of 15 countries during the latter’s visit to Kashmir.
Bukhari said his party will differentiate itself from the mainstream parties through its “agenda of working to solve the issues of people”.
“After August 5, people lost their hopes as economy, development took a back seat. Our party will raise issues like providing domicile rights over land and jobs, releasing of political leadership from detention, protecting J&K Bank’s autonomy,” he said.
“We are not hereditary politicians but common people. Apni Party is a party run by common people for common people. When we thought of its name, we considered interests of all the regions,” he said.
Congress leader Majeed also confirmed his association with Bukhari and said they are going to work together “for betterment of people.”
“Yes, I have resigned from Congress as the party has a specific agenda which is no different from that of BJP. I just needed a free space to work for the betterment of people and decided to quit the party. We are many former MLAs who are with Altaf Sahab,” he said.