Why things fell apart between PDP chief and Altaf Bukhari?

During the past few weeks, differences between the Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti and former party leader AltafBukhari had reached to a point of no return over handling of the ongoing rebellion within the party which ultimately ended with Bukhari’s expulsion on Saturday.
Why things fell apart between PDP chief and Altaf Bukhari?
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During the past few weeks, differences between the Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti and former party leader AltafBukhari had reached to a point of no return over handling of the ongoing rebellion within the party which ultimately ended with Bukhari's expulsion on Saturday. A source privy to the developments said Bukhari had insisted clearly that Mehbooba should take responsibility for the crisis the PDP finds itself in and step down as the party president. 

Bukhari was the third party leader to be expelled by Mehbooba for alleged anti-party activities, after BasharatBukhari and Peerzada Muhammad Hussain who were sacked last month. Five other former party legislators have already quit the party after a group of PDP leaders openly rebelled against Mehbooba in July last year. If reports are to be believed, more leaders are weighing their options.

"If she (Mehbooba) takes the credit for building the party during the past 20 years, she should also own the failure to keep it intact and prevent the members including some senior leaders to quit the party in times of crisis," Bukhari had said during a party meeting recently.

In fact, according to the source, Bukhari had gone ahead and demanded that Mehbooba should step down as the PDP president and elevate her deputy AR Veeri to the position, citing her "failure" as the chief minister and the party president. 

On Saturday, after expelling Bukhari, the PDP issued a detailed statement justifying the action. 

"Bukhari has been perusing his personal political ambition at the cost of the party and state interest…Bukhari 'inspired' and led dissent in the party at its most crucial stage which resulted in serious damage to our efforts at implementing the agenda of alliance of our coalition government…" the statement said.

While Bukhari said he was happy over the decision and felt "relieved from huge burden", he had termed the reasons cited for his expulsion as "debatable".

A senior party leader however said things were going "steadily" between the two sides until December last year. 

Bukhari, the party leader said, in fact played a key role on behalf of the party in bringing together the three parties—PDP, National Conference and Congress—for government formation in the state last year.

"Things fell apart between the two sides from December 2018, and on January 19 he (Bukhari) was finally shown the door," said the party leader, adding that Bukhari had even participated in a party meeting on 12 December 2018 when senior party leader MuzaffarHussainBaig was unanimously appointed as the party patron. During the meeting, Mehbooba had said that whosever wants to leave the party can go ahead.

Another senior party leader said Bukhari even conveyed to a close relative of Mehbooba on Saturday the same reason about his difference with the party leadership.

While Bukhari hasn't so far disclosed his future plans, the source said he wouldn't join the much-talked-about third front or join any other political party. 

"Instead he (Bukhari) will contest upcoming assembly elections as an independent candidate. He will not be part of any power politics," said the source.  

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