Kashmir sees birth of new parties ahead of polls

5 new groups launched since June; NC, PDP say ‘they are formed to divide vote’

Ahead of the forthcoming Assembly elections, a number of new political groups, headed by lesser-known faces, are emerging in the State, particularly in Kashmir, much to the surprise of the major political players. At least five new groups or parties have surfaced on the Kashmir’s political landscape since June this year.

On June 7, a little known social activist named Rabbia Bajji—who forfeited deposit in the recently-held Parliamentary polls from Srinagar-Budgam segment—launched ‘Awami Ittehad Front.’ The Front, according to her, would “work for dignity, security and development of Jammu and Kashmir.”
In August alone, four new groups were launched in the Valley. On August 9, Advocate Fayaz Ahmad Bhat floated a new party named ‘Jammu and Kashmir Peoples United Front’ to contest the forthcoming Assembly polls. Bhat said the party would field candidates from “some segments” in Kashmir.
In mid August, Bashir Ahmad Kashmiri floated a group named ‘Liberal Democratic Party’. On August 23, Bashir Ahmad Malik and Amin Andrabi jointly launched ‘Peoples Republican Party’ (PRP) to take the poll plunge. The party, according to the duo, would work for “rehabilitation of victims of violence and reconciliation between various regions of the State.”
On Sunday, Advocate Syed Reyaz Khawar launched another political party from his native village, Gulshanabad, in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Khawar has named his group as ‘Jammu Kashmir Awami Tehreek.’ Major political players claim that the formation of new groups is aimed to divide their votes in the Assembly elections.
Chief Spokesman of Peoples Democratic Party, Naeem Akther, said the new parties are floated “to split the vote in Kashmir.” “But this maneuvering would fail,” he said.
He said these groups are “mostly proxies, but thankfully people of Kashmir are becoming aware of it.”
National Conference spokesman Junaid Azam Mattu said, “These are attempts by some political powers and forces to fragment the voice of people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

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