Ghulam Qadir Pardesi

Opposition People’s Democratic Party(PDP) received a jolt this week, as senior leader Ghulam Qadir Pardesi, switched sides once again to join the ruling National Conference(NC).   With a history of changing loyalties, apparently for a berth in the state legislature or the cabinet,  Pardesi’s move this time may help him finally bag that elusive seat from Sonwar constituency that he lost by less than 100 votes to NC patron Farooq Abdullah. The seat is vacant as Abdullah moved to Parliament.  
However, it is for the National Conference to decide whether to give the mandate to Pardesi.
As his name suggests, Pardesi is always a Pardesi (foreigner). Whether in NC or PDP, he is among the breed of politicians who can’t be relied upon by the party. And if NC plays safe by not trusting him with a coveted seat, the party is hardly to blame.  Bureaucrat-turned-politician, Ghulam Qadir Pardesi, has been switching sides, much before he began his political career.  
He held senior position in the state administration before joining formal politics. He was Deputy Commissioner Srinagar at the time of controversial 1987 elections, which have often been cited as a trigger to insurgency. Paredesi’s role during the elections has been far from impartial, seen as he was then close to National Conference. The elections, counted as one of the most rigged elections in state history, brought Congress-National Conference alliance to power by officially trouncing the then popular Muslim United Front.
After Pardesi entered formal politics, it didn’t take him long to come close to Mufti Muhammad Sayeed. Pardesi was known to be instrumental in the formation of Sayeed’s Peoples Democratic Party, a fledgling rival to National Conferece that would soon give NC a run for its money in 2002 elections.
But before Paredsi could bask in the glory of a PDP victory, he changed sides. In 2001, alleging serious difference with the PDP leadership, Pardesi, along with Ghulam Nabi Mir Lasjan, quit and joined National Conference.  
In 2002 elections, Pardesi’s favourite constituency, Sonwar, went to Farooq Abdullah’s aide Mohammad Yaseen Shah. But PDP went on form the government along with Congress. If politics is power, how long can one stay away form it? Pardesi has been flirting around. In 2003 he deserted National Conference to rejoin the PDP.  His ‘home-coming’ was celebrated at the PDP headquarters. Pardesi went on to regain his important position in the PDP. He gave National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah a close fight from Sonwar constituency in the recent elections and lost by a very narrow margin. With Abdullah gone to parliament, Paredsi could have given NC a tough fight in the by-polls but as he said on his re-entry into PDP in 2003 “Politics is no religion that can not be renunciated”. He has stuck to his words and may prove that in future again.


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