Haseeb Drabu resigns from PDP: Ex-J&K minister says he wanted to quit before removal from state cabinet

Srinagar: People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday received a major setback after the resignation of former finance minister and senior PDP leader Haseeb Drabu from the party. Drabu said he was not happy with the functioning of the party.

The senior PDP leader submitted his resignation to former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar on Thursday evening. Drabu also posted the letter on Twitter, saying he was “bidding adieu to PDP.”

Drabu said that he had resigned two years back after differences with the party, but the resignation was not accepted. On 12 March this year, Drabu was removed by Mehbooba from her council of ministers after he said that “Kashmir was not a political issue, but a social issue.” He had, however, said that he was quoted out of context.

 Haseeb Drabu resigns from PDP: Ex-J&K minister says he wanted to quit before removal from state cabinet

File image of former Jammu and Kashmir finance minister Haseeb Drabu. PTI

The sudden expulsion of Drabu from the cabinet had drawn criticism. Some leaders within the PDP even said the move was "uncalled for".

Drabu said that though he wouldn’t go into the specifics of the reasons that forced him to resign from the party, he was however doing so, “as I was not satisfied with the PDP functioning...My letter clearly says that there have been disagreements with the party and I am distressed about many things.”

He said that he had, however, resigned before he was sacked in March this year. “I was not forced to resign. I was dropped from the cabinet eight months back, but two years before that, I had resigned,” he said. The resignation was not accepted by the PDP.

Drabu had been sulking since the time Mehbooba forced him to resign. He had not been attending the party meetings and was seen as a dissident since the time Mehbooba lost power in June after BJP withdrew support to her on the plea that the security situation in Kashmir had deteriorated during her rule.

Sources said that he could join the People’s Conference (PC) led by Sajjad Lone. He, however, said, “I have not said that I am joining People’s Conference. I have written what I wanted to write, rest is all speculation.”

Former Economic Adviser of Jammu and Kashmir, Drabu won his first election from Rajpora Assembly constituency in Pulwama. He was fielded by former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed from the constituency, which he won riding on the anti-incumbency wave against NC-Congress coalition government in the state.

The PDP had denied the mandate to former minister and senior leader Syed Bashir from the constituency who, however, lost as an independent candidate from Rajpora in 2014 elections. Within four months of joining, Drabu was inducted as finance minister by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

In his resignation letter to Mehbooba, Drabu, however, said, “Even though I have not been a dissident — you are aware I had resigned from the cabinet, Assembly and party nearly two years ago which you didn’t accept — I have disengaged from the party affairs for quite some time now.”

“I didn’t precipitate the matter because I believe it is ethically and morally wrong to leave the party under whose aegis one has contested and won the seat in the legislative Assembly. Now that it is over, I am hereby resigning from the JK PDP,” he wrote.

Drabu’s resignation is a major jolt to the PDP which has been facing severe resentment in its ranks, with party MP and former deputy chief minister Muzafar Hussain Beg even declaring his support recently to PC. Mehbooba is, however, learnt to have met Beg at his residence recently to convince him not to leave the party.

Sources in the PC said that the Beg and Lone had agreed to form the government in the state, before Governor Satya Pal Malik recently dissolved the legislative Assembly after the separate stakes for government formation were made by the PDP as well as the PC and the BJP combine.

In his resignation letter, Drabu also noted that his “legislative engagement” came to end after the dissolution of Assembly. “My legislative engagement has prematurely come to an end with the dissolution of the state Assembly by the governor. I don’t agree with the timing and manner in which it was done. It doesn’t credit either the democratic system or the custodian participants with any glory whatsoever,” the letter noted.

About the timing which he chose to resign, Drabu said, “Earlier, I was obliged as an MLA to continue because If I had won on the ticket of PDP, then I felt morally obliged to continue...But now that the Assembly is over, I said goodbye to the party.”

Updated Date: Dec 06, 2018 22:04:42 IST