The ruling People’s Democratic Party in Jammu and Kashmir suffered a setback on Sunday when sitting legislator Vikramaditya Singh, who is the grandson of the last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, resigned from the organisation, alleging that the party had sidelined issues concerning the Jammu region.
Singh, the PDP’s face in Jammu, wrote to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti: “It is no longer possible for me to be part of a party that continues to disregard the demands and aspirations of Jammu region.”
He added that former PDP patron and late Chief Minister “Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s vision of bridging the growing divide between the three regions of the state also remains unfulfilled”.
He requested Mehbooba to accept his resignation from the party with immediate effect. Singh wrote about his decision to resign from the state Legislative Council as well. “On moral grounds, I have also decided to resign from the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council were I was nominated by the Hon’ble Governor,’’ he said.
Vikramaditya Singh, the eldest son of veteran Congress leader Karan Singh, had joined the PDP in August 2014. He was projected by the then party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as its Jammu face. “Three-four years ago, Mufti Sahib called me at home through an emissary who happened to be a senior minister and asked me to join the PDP, saying that I belonged to a family which has to play an important role even today in Jammu and Kashmir,’’ he recalled.
He said that Sayeed was an “experienced leader who had a secular thinking and also had a vision for Jammu and Kashmir”.
Unfortunately after his death, the situation changed both in the PDP and the state, he said.
The resignation has come at a time when the PDP, with an eye on the next Assembly elections, is making all effort to make inroads in Hindu-dominated areas of Jammu where its ally BJP won 25 seats during the 2014 elections.
Sources said Vikramaditya was not happy with the party for the last one-and-a-half years as he had been raising pro-Jammu issues which were not consistent with the party line.
The sources said his relations with the party started souring after he failed to get any support while seeking inclusion of chapters on the history of 100 years of Dogra rule in textbooks across the state. “The golden period of Dogra history with respect to social reforms, development works, irrigation, waterways, wildlife, has no mention in school textbooks,’’ Vikramaditya Singh said. Pointing out that lots of books can be written on the contributions made by the Dogra rulers, he asked: “What message you are giving. By not mentioning them in the history books, you want to wipe out the entire history of 100 years.”
The sources added that when the state government did not accept his demand for a public holiday on the birth anniversary of his grandfather, Maharaja Hari Singh, it was the last straw for him.