J&K leaders leaving NC to join PDP
8 January 2003
The Hindustan Times
Indo-Asian News Service
Jammu: Two leaders of Jammu and Kashmir's National Conference, ousted from power in October, have joined the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. Sadiq Ali, the treasurer of the National Conference, and Rangil Singh, a Sikh leader of the party, announced their new loyalty Tuesday at the PDP office here. Mehbooba Mufti, the PDP vice-president and the chief minister's daughter, described them as great assets for her party. Ali and Singh said in a statement that the PDP reflected the 'hopes and aspirations of the people' in the violence-torn state of Jammu and Kashmir, where a separatist campaign raging since 1989 has claimed around 40,000 lives. They added: 'The National Conference had lost its moorings by becoming insensitive to the suffering to the people.' They said Conference leaders had become 'arrogant and insensitive' and taken Kashmiris for granted. The PDP heads Jammu and Kashmir's coalition government, which took office after the September-October elections threw up a hung assembly.