SRINAGAR: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) former minister and treasurer, Syed Altaf Bukhari on Sunday launched his Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party. Almost 26 former members of the erstwhile state legislature were part of the formal launch from Bukhari Sheikhbagh mansion in Srinagar, one party activist said.
Most of its founding members had come from the PDP and a section from Congress also made its presence felt. There was not any significant face at the launch party from the National Conference, Peoples Conference or the Peoples Movement.
Bukhari said the Apni Party is a “regional party with national outlook”. After reading from a draft statement, Bukhari responded to a few questioned briefly and winded up saying that there will be many occasions to interact in future. They quickly unveiled the party flag and moved into the Bukhari mansion and closed the door. Its flag is a square divided equally between blue and red colours.
“This party is by the commoners, for the commoners, of the commoners,” Bukhari said. He said they will be choosy in admitting people into the party and that a president once elected will never be permitted beyond two times. Bukhari has already been elected the founding president of the party on Saturday.
“People here are feeling the absence of credible voices, who can take up their issues and get them sorted,” Bukhari said. “This party is not floated by a family and there will be a total restriction that anybody who becomes president of the party cannot be elected more than twice.”
The launch party was attended by a number of former lawmakers and leaders. These included former PDP lawmakers and politicians Ghulam Hasan Mir, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, JavedAhmad Beg, Raja Manzoor, Zafar Iqbal Manhas, Abdul Majid Padder, Rafi Ahmad Mir, Choudhary Zulfiqar, Mohammad Dilawar Mir, Noor Mohammad Sheikh and Abdul Raheem Rather.
The Congress faction of the Apni Party comprised Usman Majid, Shoaib Lone, Aijaz Khan and his brother Mumtaz Khan, Farooq Andrabi, Irfan Naqeeb, Krishan Arora, Vikram Malhotra and Manjit Singh.
Syed Asgar Ali who had recently migrated from PDP to NC was also there. Former Chief Secretary Vijay Bakaya who had resigned from NC was also present. One party member said that Shah Mohammad Tantray has not formally joined so far.
The Dinner Meeting
Party’s maiden meeting was reported on Saturday over dinner. Bukhari was elected president in that meeting. The dinner meeting was attended by Mohammad Dilawar Mir, Usman Majeed, Aijaz Ahmad Khan, Abdul Majeed Padder, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Javed Beig, Rafi Mir, Zaffar Manhas, Abdul Rahim Rather, Raja Manzoor, Kamal Arora, Yawar Mir, Noor Mohammed Sheikh, Javed Mirchal, Shoaib Lone, Choudhary Qamar, Syed Asghar Ali, Faqeer Mohammad, Muntazir Mohouddin, G M Bhawan, Hilal Ahmad Shah, Neilangan Arora, Vikram Malhotra, Mudasir Amin, Mohammad Ashraf Dar, Samiullah, Kavel Singh, Jagmohan Singh Raina, Manjeet Singh, Irfan Naqeeb and Farooq Andrabi.
Almost all the leaders addressed the meeting and deliberated on the prevailing socio-economic and political situation which has emerged after the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year.