Srinagar: Brining an end to over a month-long silence, senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former minister Altaf Bukhari Monday kick-started mega political rallying from his home turf of Amira Kadal constituency here. Apart from addressing a daylong party convention, where he asked the party cadres to revive membership drive, Bukhari has reopened doors to meet public delegations, which were otherwise avoided during his “sabbatical.”
While scores of his jubilant workers said “good news” was on cards, Bukhari’s confidence at the rally, hinted at revival of his relationship with the PDP top brass, something which may fetch him a ministerial berth, again. Addressing a daylong party convention at Mehjoor Nagar, Bukhari said there was a dire need to ensure sustainable infrastructural development across the state, especially in Srinagar City. Senior party leader Abdul Hamid Kosheen, and Zonal President Muhammad Ashraf Dar were also present on the occasion hinting that Bukhari has full party support in the new rallying.
Pledging to convert Srinagar into model City, Bukhari asked the party cadres to gear up and take measures to reach out to the people and strengthen the party at the grassroots.
Meanwhile, Bukhari reopened doors of his private office at Sheikh Bagh to meet delegations. This office was almost closed since April 4, when the new government was sworn-in, and he nowhere figured in the list of ministers. Today, as the office got back to life, among the visitors were some PDP leaders including Arif Laigaroo. Youth PDP leader, Laigaroo , who looks ahead to contest municipal elections from Amira Kadal constituency, had brought along a delegation from Pir Bagh with an “assurance that Bukhari Sahib was back to power and that he would mitigate their sufferings.” As the word of Bukhari’s “powerful return” spread, more delegations poured in within an hour. Among them were the recently displaced street vendors. The MLA assured them that he would pick up the matter with the Chief Minister so that they are able to earn a livelihood with dignity.
Though Bukhari had been silent over his not being retained in the new cabinet led by Mehbooba last month, he subsequently left for Umrah pilgrimage, staying away from the party affairs.
However, ending his over a month long “sabbatical”, on May 11, Bukhari made an impressive comeback at a dinner party hosted by Mehbooba for some “selected group of journalists and other well-wishers” where he was seen sharing the dining table and some good time with the Chief Minister.
A leading businessman -turned politician, Bukhari rose to instant prominence after formally joining the PDP. In the previous government, his clout worked wonders for the PDP, given the influence he enjoyed among the public and the political circles, including the separatist camps. But his absence at the second innings of his party’s alliance with the rightwing forces had emerged as a topic of discussion among the political and public circles, while his moves continue to be newsy.
Insiders said his new lease of growing affinity with the party leadership hints at his induction in the cabinet. “See basically, it’s for the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir that Srinagar’s civil lines has no representation in the ministerial-berths and the only face who can logically fill this vacuum is Altaf Bukhari himself,” said Dr Sageer Ahmed a prominent political analyst.
Dr Sageer said over the past over a fortnight there was a growing dissent among the residents of civil lines over lack of representation in the government, which PDP might have finally realized.