Two weeks after the senior Peoples Democratic Party leader MuzaffarHussainBaig said he was considering joining the Sajad Lone-led “third front” in Jammu and Kashmir, the PDP president Mehbooba Mufti met Baig at his residence here on Monday.
Mehbooba dropped at Baig’s residence at around 5 pm and the two leaders had a meeting for almost an hour, a party source said.
Though it was not immediately known what transpired in the closed-door meeting, the deliberations however assume significance as Mehbooba, a former chief minister, is battling rebellion within her party.A senior PDP leader tried to play down the meeting, saying it was just a “courtesy call” from the PDP president.
“Baigh sahib hasn’t been keeping well for some time and that is why Mehboobaji went to inquire about his health,” said the party leader.In his November 20 press conference, Baig, the PDP co-founder, had said that Mehbooba often visits his residence to seek his advice on different issues.
“But she never implements it,” he had said.Baig’s relation with the PDP leadership plummeted when he was sidelined after the PDP-BJP alliance took shape in 2015. The alliance ended in June this year when BJP walked out of it, bringing down the Mehbooba-led government.
Baig, a former deputy chief minister, had criticised the party “over the way it has performed” during last two-and-a-half years and added that the PDP was “in perils” today and “hasn’t lived up to its vision.”He had also criticised the party leadership for “aping” National Conference and staying away from municipal and panchayat polls, though he maintained that Mehbooba was “like my younger sister”.
“For me, Peoples Conference is like my home and Sajad Lone is like my son. If he is interested, there is a talk of third front, it should emerge and be encouraged….if it (third front) emerges, I will seriously consider joining it,” he had said.
However, he had put a rider that his next move would depend on reaction to his statements from the PDP leadership.“Baig sahib is a very senior leader and one of the founding members of the party. He has been a torchbearer of the party and we hope he continues to remain the same,” said PDP chief spokesman Rafi Mir.