More post-poll convulsions as Sajjad Gani Lone exits Gupkar alliance

Express News Service
SRINAGAR: A simmering disquiet in the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) finally spilled over with People’s Conference (PC) pulling out on Tuesday.

In a letter to PAGD chairman Farooq Abdullah explaining the reasons for snapping the ties, PC chairman Sajjad Gani Lone said the “breach of trust between partners” was “beyond remedy”. Sajjad  was the convener of the PAGD.

The PAGD, also known as Gupkar Alliance, was a tie up between NC, PDP, People’s Conference, CPI, CPM, JKPM, and ANC. It was formed in October 2020 to fight for the restoration of Articles 370 and 35A, which were scrapped by the Centre on August 5, 2019.

“There has been a breach of trust between partners, which we believe is beyond remedy. The majority view in our party is that we should pull out of the alliance in an amicable manner rather than waiting for things to get messier. We henceforth will no longer be a part of the PAGD,” wrote Sajjad, a former BJP ally. He said the party is divorcing from the alliance, not its objectives.

“We will continue to adhere to objectives that we set out with when this alliance was made. We will extend support on all issues which fall within the ambit of stated objectives,” he said.

The leaders of PC, especially influential Shia leader Imran Reza Ansari and party’s senior vice chairman Abdul Gani Lone, were critical of alliance parties fielding proxies during the first-ever DDC polls in J&K.

The Gupkar Alliance emerged as the single largest group with 110 seats, including PC’s eight seats, while BJP emerged as single largest party with 75 seats.

The DDC election, he said, was politically very important as it was the first election post August 5.

“It was less of an election, and more of an opportunity to send a strong political message. On the face of it, PAGD won these elections unambiguously,” he added.

Trust deficit

Sajjad said trust between allying partners, who have been rivals all along, can be very elusive and extremely fragile. “But proxies have made it perpetually elusive.” The alliance needed sacrifice on part of constituents, he said