Jammu: National Conference leader Mushtaq Ahmad Shah Bukhari resigned from the party’s basic membership on Tuesday after a “heated argument” with Farooq Abdullah over the issue of Scheduled Tribes status for Pahari speaking people.
Bukhari, a two-time ex-MLA from Surankote in Poonch district, had on Sunday chaired a convention by the Pahari Tribe ST Forum here which saw over 350 delegates in attendance with Jammu and Kashmir BJP president Ravinder Raina as the chief guest.
“I had stated that we will not hesitate in supporting any party which will help the community in achieving its long-standing demand of Scheduled Tribe status.
“The remarks had not gone down well with the National Conference leadership and I was asked for an explanation,” Bukhari said.
The former minister said he met NC president Abdullah at his residence and had a “heated argument” with him over the issue. “I walked out and submitted my resignation from the basic membership of the party.”
Bukhari claimed he was ready for any sacrifice for the welfare of the tribe.
“We will leave for Delhi to meet the Central government under the banner of Pahari Tribes ST Forum shortly to push for Scheduled Tribe status before the holding of next assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir… We are not ungrateful if Centre accepts our long-pending demand,” he said.
Bukhari had recently met senior BJP leader Devender Singh Rana and sought his support for the demands of Pahari speaking people.
Rana, the younger brother of Union Minister Jitendra Singh, had resigned from the post of provincial president (Jammu) of National Conference along with party colleague S S Slathia in October last year and joined the BJP. PTI