While internal strife within the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party remained no secret, the party seems to have reached a dead-end.
The two-time MLA and former minister from Samba constituency, Yash Paul Kundal has decided to part ways with the party while party chairman and former education minister Harsh Dev Singh has also started weighing his options.
‘“I haven’t yet decided to join the Aam Aadmi Party or any other party. I am holding threadbare discussions with my people and will go by their unanimous decision,” Kundal said.
He said he recently had a delegate session to explore all options. “But one thing is sure that I am not going to stay with the Panthers Party any longer. It has reached the brink of disintegration because of internal strife. For now, I am visiting my people in Samba constituency holding parleys with them and whatever they say, I would go by their unanimous decision,” he said.
He said, “Everything is possible in politics. I will go with the party where I feel the future of my people lies but as of now, I have not decided anything.”
Kundal was twice elected to the then legislative assembly of Jammu and Kashmir from the Samba constituency in 2002 and 2008.
The Panthers Party was founded on March 23, 1982, by Prof Bhim Singh and a few prominent youth political personalities.
Sources privy to Harsh Dev Singh said Singh was also weighing his options.
“Though he has no immediate plans to part ways with the Panthers Party, he is talking to his people. Due to internal fight, the party has reached its dead-end and the party cadre is feeling suffocated,” said a source privy to Harsh.
Harsh Dev Singh was thrice elected to the then legislative assembly from the Ramnagar constituency in 1996, 2002 and 2008.
Serious differences have cropped up between Harsh Dev Singh and his uncle professor Bhim Singh, who had recently lodged a complaint with Jammu SSP claiming that the former had issued threats to him.
Consequently, a video went viral on social sites where Harsh Dev Singh was seen apologising to his uncle besides blaming him for “ruining” the party just for a “woman”, which Harsh Dev Sigh didn’t name.
On February 13, the Panthers Party had suffered a setback when its entire Samba district unit resigned from the basic membership of the party.
The district president of Samba, Rajeshwar Singh had said the unit resigned due to “reckless attitude” of the party chairman and former minister Harsh Dev Singh.
Meanwhile, Jaya Mala, wife of Prof Bhim Singh and one of the founder members of Panthers Party, has come out openly in favour of Harsh Dev Singh and pledged all out support to the former NPP minister.
In a hurriedly called press conference, Jaya Mala described Harsh Dev as the true champion of the people and the lone crusader fighting against the present-day dictatorial regime.
On February 10 last year the party had suffered a major jolt when former MLA from Udhampur assembly constituency and party president Balwant Singh Mankotia had resigned from the party.