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Potential rebels grab Mehbooba’s olive branch.

As the former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti sets out to woo the rebelling party members back into party fold, a rebel MLA and an estranged legislator were among several party members who held closed-door talks with party president Mehbooba Mufti at her residence on Tuesday.

The MLA Noorabad Abdul Majid Padder, who had openly criticized functioning within the party, called on Mehbooba this morning. Though it was not immediately known what transpired during one-on-one meeting, a senior PDP leader termed it as “significant”.

Apart from Padder, four party legislators including Abid Ansari, his nephew Imran Ansari, Javiad Beigh, Muhammad Abbas Wani and MLC Yasir Reshi had revolted against the party accusing Mehbooba of nepotism and promoting “family raj” within the party.

The party leader said they were in touch with two more rebel party members. “There are problems in every party…sometimes a communication gap leads to misgivings, but we are hopeful that through this process (of interaction with the party president) things will be sorted out,” said the PDP leader.

Mehbooba started holding interactions with party legislators on Saturday, first time after the rebellion broke out within the party, after her return from New Delhi.

Another party leader said they were expecting that Baigh and Wani would meet the party president in coming days. However the party leaders are silent on whether Abid and Imran would meet Mehbooba.

In a related development former minister and party MLA from Lolab Abdul Haq Khan also called on the party president this morning. Khan had reportedly distanced himself from the party affairs after he was removed as minister during previous government led by Mehbooba.

Among others who met Mehbooba today included two party MPs and MLAs including Javaid Mustafa Mir, Abdul Rahim Rather, Shah Mohammad Tantray and all MLCs except Saif-ud-din Bhat and former MLA Abdul Gaffar Sofi.

The rebellion within the PDP has given rise to speculation about split within the party amid reports that BJP was working behind the scene to form a coalition in which its ally Sajad Lone could have a key role.

“Whatever these dissenters have said about party functioning is an open secret and has even been talked about by those members who are in loop and have pledged unconditional support to the leadership,” said a former PDP minister. “This is an old problem in the party and has to be fixed.”Late in the evening Mehbooba chaired party’s core group meeting to discuss the “situation and way forward”.

While several members of the group including AR Veeri, Nizammudin Bhat, Dilawar Mir, and Mehboob Beg were in attendance three senior leaders, Sartaj Madni, Naeem Akhter and Peerzada Mansoor Hussain remained absent.

This was the first meeting of the party highest decision making body after the demise of the PDP-BJP government and the subsequent revolt by the legislators.

The meeting also assumes significance in the backdrop of one-on-one interactions by Mehbooba with her party legislature.

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