PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC Party held a youth convention in Shopian district of South Kashmir on Thursday, signaling fresh efforts to rejuvenate its political activities and outreach programmes.
Party sources said the youth convention was the first of many such outreach efforts that the Mehbooba Mufti-led party has planned over the coming weeks.
This was also the party’s first youth convention in the absence of its youth wing president and elected member of Pulwama District Development Council Waheed Para, who remains in Srinagar Central Jail booked under UAPA provisions.
The meeting, held in Shopian town, was presided over by PDP’s chief spokesperson Suhail Bukhari. “There has been a political vacuum. Our youth wing president, Waheed, has been in jail for nearly two years, this meeting was conducted in his absence. We had about 250 young people from the area participate in the event,” Bukhari told The Indian Express.
Addressing the gathering, Bukhari emphasised that the PDP’s self-rule roadmap remains “the only viable, acceptable and just way forward in achieving lasting peace not only in J&K but the entire subcontinent more so given the current geo-political scenario”.
Party leaders also expressed concerns that the lack of political outreach and “criminalising dissent has led to drastic deterioration on the mental and psychological well-being of people in general and youth in particular”.
Bukhari urged youths in the Valley to become “active participants” in the politco-social activities in order to claim their rightful space and address their grievances.
Former MLA Aijaz Ahmad Mir and PDP’s youth wing coordinator for South Kashmir, Najmu Saqib, also addressed the gathering. A second youth meeting is scheduled to be held in Handwara in North Kashmir next week.
Meanwhile, the National Conference has also held meetings with its workers. Sources said organisational activities are taking place almost everyday. The People’s Conference is also involved in pushing its political activities. The party has seen a spate of inductions with workers from other parties joining its cadre.