Jammu, Feb 17: Revolting openly against party leadership, two senior PDP Ministers today resigned from Cabinet hours after Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti conducted a significant reshuffle among portfolios of her Cabinet colleagues.
Minister for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation, Basharat Bukhari and Minister for Information Technology, Technical Education and Youth Services and Sports, Imran Raza Ansari have both tendered their resignations to the Chief Minister.
Reliable sources in PDP said, “immediately after the Chief Minister conducted a reshuffle of portfolios of the PDP Cabinet Minister, both the leaders booked their tickets to Srinagar on the same flight GO Air 697 and subsequently, sent their resignations respectively to the Chief Minister”.
Senior PDP leader, Basharat Bukhari, who is an MLA from Sangrama, when contacted told EXCELSIOR, “I have sent a detailed two page statement to the Chief Minister, while elaborating on the reasons for submitting resignation”.
“For me, my conscience and self-esteem is supreme and with all my sincerity, I had performed whatever responsibility was entrusted to me by the Chief Minister. People of the State can judge my performance on the basis of several important reforms initiated by me during this tenure”, he said in a choked voice and added, “I have submitted a detailed letter to my leader and she only can tell the reasons”.
Basharat had held the portfolio of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, when Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was heading the Government in 2015 and had been re-inducted as Minister for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation when Mehbooba Mufti took over the reins of Government on April 4, 2016.
Sources in PDP while clarifying on reasons of Basharat’s resignation said, “though several significant portfolios had been held by him earlier in view of his performance, he had been stripped off several important Departments in today’s reshuffle and had been left with only Horticulture”.
Shia religious cleric Imran Raza Ansari, who won elections from Pattan constituency, told EXCELSIOR, “I had some personal grievances, which I have mentioned in a detailed letter to the Chief Minister and my resignation has nothing to do with today’s Cabinet reshuffle”.
However, sources within PDP commented, “Ansari wasn’t happy with the portfolio of Information, Technical Educa-tion and Youth Services and Sports and had been assured of being given some important portfolio by the party leadership.”
Sources said, “resignation of two Cabinet Ministers is being seen as sign of major revolt against the PDP leadership. However, hectic efforts have been initiated by some senior leaders of the party to placate the two Ministers and convince them to withdraw their resignations”.
As per the convention, the PDP leaders will remain Ministers till their resignations are accepted.
“It is sole prerogative of the Chief Minister to accept or reject their resignations. If the CM feels appropriate, she may forward the resignations to the Governor, N N Vohra thereby paving way for their resignation”, legal sources said.
Party sources said, “several PDP leaders held closed-door meetings since yesterday and there was resentment amongst several other party Legislators, who had failed to get Ministry”, adding, “some party leaders were also annoyed over the fact that though four leaders (Altaf Bukhari, Javid Mustafa Mir, Mohammad Ashraf Mir and Abdul Majeed Padroo) had been dropped by CM, only one of them had managed to stage come back”.
It is pertinent to mention that Basharat Bukhari, who had served as party’s Chief spokesman had jointed PDP on September 23, 2003 and was elected to J&K Legislative Council in April 2005 and then to Legislative Assembly in December 2008 and 2014.
Imran Ansari is son of former Minister and Shia religious cleric, Molvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari. After death of his father Molvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari in 2014, Imran Raza was fielded by PDP from same constituency Pattan where his father served before.