Srinagar, July 8: Having consolidated further his position and that of his party politically, Apni Party President Syed Muhammad Altaf Bukhari has decided to contest the assembly polls from Channapora and Uri constituencies.
While assembly election dates are yet to be announced and the polls are expected to be held by the end of this year or early next year, Bukhari‘s decision is the first major move by head of a political party towards the preparations of assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. Party sources said people from Chanapora and Uri constituencies approached and requested him to contest from there. Respecting their sentiments, Bukhari decided to contest from both the constituencies, the sources added.
Despite the severe criticism by rival parties National Conference (NC) and PDP, the President of Apni Party has succeeded in creating a niche for his party in the political spectrum in J&K. Whether NC and PDP contest jointly or separately, Apni Party headed by Bukhari is a challenge for them in the electoral politics. Having himself a vast political experience now and ability and temperament to lead and hold his team together, he has some known faces in his camp, who have their personal and political influence on the local voters in their respective constituencies.
Since the formation of Apni Party, he has travelled different corners of J&K to introduce his party and strengthen it at the grass roots levels. Bukhari has been accusing both PDP and NC of doing nothing for the development and welfare of people and ignoring their day to day problems during their rule and trying to mislead the masses by raising hollow political slogans. Apni Party President has been stating that he or his party are not against the restoration of rights to the people, but views that only the parliament or the supreme court can restore such rights and not the local political parties here. A strong advocate of restoration of statehood and early assembly polls, Bukhari states that only a popularly elected government is in the best interests of people.Having a close political association with Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, founder of PDP, in past Bukhari played a key role in strengthening PDP. Belonging to an influential business family, he jumped into politics and soon learnt to establish and sustain contact with common people. Despite NC having tried its level best to defeat him from Amira Kadal constituency in last assembly polls, he emerged victorious because of his popularity. Bukhari has always remained active to some extent on social service front also, which has helped him. Bukhari became the Public Works minister in PDP-BJP government headed by Mufti Muhammad Sayeed. During Mehbooba Mufti’s government, he also allotted portfolios of labour and education. He was later given additional charge of the Finance Ministry. Interestingly, he could have become the chief minister if the move by PDP to form the government with the support of NC had succeeded in November, 2018. The then Governor Satyapal Malik said he did not receive the letters of PDP and NC in this connection since the Raj Bhawan fax machine was non-functional. Finally the assembly was dissolved. Following differences with PDP leadership, he distanced himself from the party affairs and later formed Apni Party. Bukhari now says that his party will get the majority in coming assembly polls and form the next government. His party’s main thrust is on development and good governance.