In the first step to purge dissent within the party after being strengthened by assurances from most of its legislators, the PDP has removed a dissenting legislator from a party post. Yashir Reshi, a member of the legislative council, was removed as the district president of Bandipore on Wednesday.
“People’s Democratic Party has removed Yasir Reshi as district president for Bandipore,” said PDP chief spokesman Rafi Ahmad Mir. “The district president Baramulla, Irshad Rasool Kar, will look after the party affairs of district Bandipore for the time being.”
While the PDP has not expelled Reshi, his removal from the party post is seen as aimed towards sending a message to other dissenting party members.
“His position as the party’s district president was untenable,” a senior PDP leader told The Indian Express. “He was working against the interests of the party and how could he have continued as the party’s district president.”
Another senior PDP leader said that while the party would continue to reach out to the dissenters, including former minister Imran Ansari and his uncle Abid Ansari, it would not shy away from acting against dissent. “Do expect action against some more dissenters in coming days,” he said.
Sources said that PDP president Mehbooba Mufti is considering changes in the party structure after party legislators conveyed their displeasure about the party’s functioning during their one-on-one meeting with the former Chief Minister.
Party insiders maintain that many legislators were unhappy over the induction of Mufti’s brother Tasaduq, a cinematographer who was made the tourism minister in December last year. They said Mufti agreed with the party legislators on the issue.
“The party leaders conveyed to her (Mehbooba Mufti) that people were attracted towards PDP because Mufti sahib had made the party as his family and not the family as his party,” said another party leader. “She agreed to it and acknowledged that it was not a right decision.”
After the PDP-BJP alliance crumbled, several PDP legislators have come out openly against the “family raj” in the party. Five MLAs — Imran Ansari, Abid Ansari, Abbas Wani, Javeed Beig and Abdul Majeed Padder — have openly rebelled against the party while two senior party legislators — Haseeb Drabu and Abdul Haq Khan — are unhappy after they were removed as cabinet ministers.