Srinagar: In a blow to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, her senior colleague Tariq Karra on Thursday quit the PDP and Parliament after comparing the ruling PDP-BJP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir to Nazi rule.
Karra told reporters here that he “was feeling suffocated by the alliance” and was resigning to “protest against the brutalities on civilian protesters and the PDP’s sell out to the BJP”.
He said the PDP was founded as a “savior” for the people of the state but the present government “is treating its own people like the Nazi forces treated the oppressed”.
He said he couldn’t stand the “new avatar adorned by the PDP and my conscience could not take it any more.
“The PDP has become a collaborator for fascist RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)-governed BJP,” he said and accused the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of “pushing this country towards a Hindu nation”.
Elected to the Lok Sabha in 2014, Karra was a close aide of the late Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and was one of the founders of the PDP.
He had always opposed the idea of the party teaming up with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form an alliance after a fractured mandate in the 2015 assembly polls. Karra had made his dissent known earlier also.
“It is an unnatural alliance and the PDP is losing its character as it is doing exactly what it opposed in the past (when it was in opposition),” Karra said.
“I had been warning about this alliance. I was even mocked. Whatever was agreed to be done was never done.”
He said the state government mishandled the civilian unrest in the Kashmir Valley even as he had warned that “Modi’s arm twisting attitude and criminal silence on contentious issues even during these times were adding fuel to the anger of the people”.
The Kashmir Valley has been battling the deadliest street agitation it has suffered in six years. At least 80 people have been killed and thousands injured in daily protests between civilians and security forces, triggered by the July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
Karra mocked at the PDP’s pre-election promises and its earlier protests against civilian killings and human rights violations in the state.
“What happened to the promises like self-rule? Why was the PDP protesting against similar killings during the previous government? The PDP had been protesting against everything that is happening now.”
He also appealed to other legislators and MPs of the party to “listen to their conscience and take a final call on whether they want to coexist with their people or continue to work as collaborators for the BJP and the RSS”.
The PDP won all the three Lok Sabha seats in the Kashmir Valley in 2014. Karra won from Srinagar-Budgam. Muzaffar Baig was elected from Kupwara-Baramulla and party president Mehbooba Mufti won Anantnag-Pulwama.
Mehbooba quit the Lok Sabha after she was elected to the assembly this year to continue as the Chief Minister following the death of her father in January.
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Karra’s resignation came days after Baig, another PDP founding member, urged Mehbooba to call off the alliance as the party cadres were sulking with the way government had dealt with protesters in the valley.