Jammu, Mar 7: Every new political party offers a new democratic option and therefore, all those having faith in democracy should welcome it, Union Minister and BJP leader Jitendra Singh said on March 7. He said this without naming rebel Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former Jammu and Kashmir finance minister Altaf Bukhari who is expected to launch his own party in Srinagar on Sunday.
Many prominent PDP, Congress and National Conference leaders are expected to join the businessman-turned-politician’s outfit.
“Citizens have the right to be offered different options in a democracy, so that they can decide and accordingly elect what they think is the best for them,” Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
Without directly referring to reports of the new political outfit Jammu Kashmir Apni Party, he said every new political party offers a new democratic option. Therefore, all those having faith in democracy should welcome it, the Union minister said.
To that extent, Singh said, every individual or a group of individuals also enjoy the prerogative to float a political outfit and try their luck at the hustings by campaigning about their programmes, manifesto and agenda, as long as it does not violate the framework of the Constitution or does not seek to create strife or disharmony in society.
His statements came amid resignation of two senior Congress leaders from the primary membership of the party and a statement by Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) advising Jammu-based leaders to desist from the ‘Faustian bargain’ by joining the party of defectors. The Congress leaders are likely to join Bukhari.
Singh said after the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir last year, the message should go out loud and clear that the political hierarchy of Jammu and Kashmir will no longer be monopolized or confined only to a handful of individuals or families and dynasties.
On August 5 last year, the Centre revoked the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, which came into existence on October 31 midnight in 2019.
The Congress leaders who have resigned from the party’s primary membership are former minister and Congress Samba district president Sardar Manjit Singh and district president Jammu (urban) Vikram Malhotra.
JKNPP chairman and former minister Harsh Dev Singh expressed dismay over the decision of “some Jammu-based leaders to join a Kashmir-centric party” and said the political opportunism seemed to have touched a new low.

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