Former Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu on Thursday announced his resignation from the Peoples Democratic Party, saying the decision had been “coming for a while now”. The economist had joined the party in 2014 and won the Assembly election from Rajpora constituency later that year.
In his resignation letter, Drabu said he had wanted to resign from the Cabinet “nearly two years ago” but then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had not accepted it. He said he “did not precipitate the matter” because leaving the party under which he had won an Assembly seat was “ethically and morally wrong”. He was resigning now that the Legislative Assembly had been dissolved, he wrote in his letter to Mufti. “I have disengaged myself from party affairs for quite some time now,” Drabu said.
In June, the state government had collapsed after the Bharatiya Janata Party withdrew support to the PDP-led government. The state has been under Governor’s Rule since. Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved the Assembly last month.
Drabu praised former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, who died in 2016, and said he was the one who got him into politics. “Working with him made me realise that politics is not the ‘last refuge of scoundrels’,” Drabu wrote. “I just hope that when history judges Mufti sahib and his decision to ally with the Bharatiya Janata Party, it does so in the context and with the complexity it deserves.”
Drabu expressed his disagreement with Governor Satya Pal Malik’s decision to dissolve the Assembly. “I do not agree with the timing and manner in which it was done. It does not credit either the democratic system or its custodian participants with any glory whatsoever.”
Malik’s decision to dissolve the Assembly on November 21 came after the Congress, National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party floated the possibility of an alliance, claiming that they had the support of 56 legislators in the 87-member legislature. The governor’s decision was criticised and several quarters accused him of acting at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre. Malik has denied the claims.
Three months before the state government’s collapse, Mehbooba Mufti had sacked Drabu from the Cabinet after he triggered a controversy by claiming that the Kashmir dispute is “not a political issue”.