Two former secretaries and a district president of People Democratic Party (PDP) of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday resigned from the membership of the party, saying that "communal elements have completely grabbed the party".
Dhaman Bhasin and Fallail Singh, former state secretaries of PDP and Pritam Kotwal, former PDP president of Doda district announced their resignation and blamed "recent provocative and communal statements by the party leadership".
One of the leaders International Business Times, India spoke to hinted at joining BJP in near future. "After the demise of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, PDP has been virtually hijacked by those having a parochial and communal approach.
PDP leadership is brazenly indulged into pursuing communal politics which is against the vision of its founder who was a shining example of secularism and communal harmony," they wrote in a joint statement.
'Our suggestions were not taken seriously by the leadership'
Alleging that the party leadership has sidelined "saner voices", Bhasin, Singh and Kotwal wrote, "We repeatedly suggested party leadership to stick to Mufti Sahib's visionary and secular agenda by sidelining communal and unscrupulous elements but to no avail. Our suggestions were not taken seriously by the leadership as communal elements have completely grabbed the party".
The leadership said the founder members of PDP are "feeling suffocated and humiliated by the communal and unscrupulous elements, who have given free hand by the leadership just to create a communal divide in Jammu and Kashmir".
"Apart from becoming the B team of the National Conference (NC), the party leadership has recently given some highly provocative and controversial statements against the basic principles of the founder of the party," the statement reads.
The development comes days after former Rajya Sabha MP TS Bajwa and two other founding members of the party stepped down, saying they were feeling suffocated in the party and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti's statements that hurt patriotic sentiments.
If she is a daughter of India, why shouldn't she raise the tricolour?
Speaking to IBT, India, Fallail Singh said they do not agree with PDP's demand to restore Article 370 of the Constitution, slammed Mufti for giving "anti-India" statements.
"We didn't like her (Mufti) anti-India statements. She said she would not raise the Tricolour. If she is a daughter of India, why she should not? This shows there are some problems in her DNA and we need to check their DNA," he said.
He further said, "We also do not support Gupkar alliance and the demand for restoration of Article 370 which was a hindrance in the unification of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country". Singh also hinted at joining Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Mufti's controversial statements
Addressing a press conference last month, Mehboba Mufti said she will not raise the Tricolour until Article 370 is restored.
"My flag is this (points to the flag of Jammu and Kashmir kept on the table in front of her). When this flag comes back, we will raise that flag (tricolour) too. Until we get our own flag back, we won't raise any other flag... This flag bound our relationship with the tricolour," Mufti said.
In another controversial statement, Mufti had said that youths of Jammu and Kashmir were left with no option but to pick up arms due to "oppressive policies" of BJP. Pritam Kotwal told IBT, India, "Her statement about not picking the national flag was a breaking point".
District Development Council (DDC) polls
The resignations coincide with the elections for District Development Council (DDC) in Jammu and Kashmir that will be held in eight phases starting November 28.
The DDC polls are the first democratic exercise since Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 was revoked in August 2019 and the state was bifurcated into Union Territories.