PDP to abstain from voting in Rajya Sabha

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Omar, Mehbooba trade barbs on Twitter

SRINAGAR: Having suffered an abrupt break-up with its ally BJP, the disoriented Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked its members to abstain from voting in the Rajya Sabha for the post of deputy chairperson.
The post has been lying vacant from June after the retirement of PJ Kurien, who had been elected to the upper house of India’s Parliament on a Congress ticket. The election to the post is to be held on Thursday.
PDP chief spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir confirmed that his party has decided to abstain from voting in the Rajya Sabha. Mir reasoned that abstaining is necessary for the time being as the party has not decided about its future alliances, including with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
“Right now, we are focused on strengthening our cadre, instead of forging any alliance with any party,” he told Kashmir Reader.
The Opposition in the Rajya Sabha is hoping to retain the post. A deputy chairperson from its flock would maintain pressure on the government ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress has even shown willingness to have a non-Congress candidate for the post. The BJP is the single-largest party in the Rajya Sabha but is short of the magical number –112– required to win the election, while the Opposition’s combined strength has 117 votes.
A united Opposition is planning to forge a pre-election Mahagathbandhan, ‘grand alliance’, to take on the Narendra Modi-led BJP. But the PDP, which feels to have been betrayed by the saffron party, is indecisive about being part of the grand alliance.
“We are busy with restructuring. In the future we may think about an alliance,” said Mir.
Meanwhile, former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti engaged in a war of words on Twitter after the PDP announced that it will abstain from voting in the Rajya Sabha.
Omar tweeted, “@MehboobaMufti has told the Congress she will support the UPA candidate for #RajyaSabha Vice Chairman. She’s also told the BJP she will support the NDA candidate. How does that work exactly?”
Mehbooba retorted, “Usually fake news and falsehoods are peddled by dubious news channels. But it’s baffling when a politician like @OmarAbdullah fabricates stories based on pure fiction. Such dangerous propaganda is detrimental to the truth and an attempt to mislead people.”
Omar later responded with a smiling face and said, “Hats off to whoever operates your account for you. They actually have a sense of humour. Nice emoji use. Fake news you would have ignored as I always do with your pronouncements. What I said has clearly pinched somewhere!”