Why did PDP abstain from Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Election?

Mehbooba Mufti, rajya sabha, pdp, deputy chairman, election
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On Thursday, National Democratic Alliance candidate and Janata Dal (United) MP Harivansh Narayan Singh won the election for the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman post. He defeated the Congress backed opposition candidate BK Hariprasad by 125 against 105 votes.  It was an uphill task for NDA parties to garner the necessary support for its candidate considering it was not in majority in the Upper House. BJP had 73 MPs which when combined with the rest of the MPs from the NDA, made the tally go up to 85. However, this was way short of the 123 figure needed to win the post. The winning mark was brought down by 8 MPs who were absent. AAP and PDP were abstaining from voting in the elections, the final mark was therefore restricted to 119.

The decision of PDP to abstain from the voting was one of the most interesting things about the election for the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman. The BJP government had pulled support from the Jammu and Kashmir government after Eid, which led to the fall of the Mehbooba Mufti led government and imposition of Governor’s rule in the state. It was followed by barbs from both the sides. Mehbooba Mufti definitely crossed the line. She threatened the centre by taking the names of terrorists and terrorist supporters from the valley.

Today, former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti had the opportunity to take revenge from the BJP by voting against the NDA candidate but her party strangely abstained from voting in the election for the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman. There could be three possible reasons behind the strange decision of her party:

First, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party want to keep BJP in good humour ahead of the 2019 General elections; they know that PM Modi is not going anywhere; he is going to come back to power again in 2019. Considering this fact, the PDP is playing safe. They don’t even remotely want to sound like an anti-Modi and anti-BJP party.

Second, PDP has become a pariah in the Kashmir valley after aligning with the supposedly ‘Hindu-Nationalist’ BJP and hence PDP is left with no other options except improving its ties with the BJP again anyhow in order to come back to power again in J&K.

Third, maybe there is only just a virtual breakup between the PDP and the BJP, and things are not all that bad. There might be some sort of tacit understanding between Mehbooba and the BJP as Omar Abdullah claimed. Commenting on the absentation of PDP from voting, he said, “And goes on to prove that PDP and BJP are still in a tactical alliance that has ulterior and hidden motives to rob the State of its political identity.”

Earlier as well, Omar Abdullah had made some absurd claims.

Meanwhile, Rafi Ahmad Mir, chief spokesman of PDP tweeted, “The decision of abstaining from voting comes in light of dissolution of coalition with BJP, hence the NDA. Also the UPA didn’t approach PDP, therefore after consultations with party leaders and Parliamentarians, it was deemed fit to abstain in party interest (sic).”

Whatever the reasons behind the PDP’s strange decision, it has opened a Pandora’s Box of political speculations and conspiracy theories. Only the time will tell what the real picture is.

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Shubham Singh

21, (BA) Political Science Hons, PG Diploma in RTV, Learner.

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