SRINAGAR — Former Deputy Mayor Srinagar, Sheikh Mohammad Imran in a scathing attack called former Srinagar Mayor, Junaid Mattu an “opportunist” who has not only hijacked Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) but also taken over the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference (JKPC) party hierarchy and created fear in the minds of the party leaders, taking definite advantage of the absence of the party chairman, Sajjad Lone, who is facing detention and house arrest since August 05, 2019.

Sheikh Mohammad Imran, in a statement given to media, has levelled allegations on the former Srinagar Mayor, Junaid Mattu that the later has hijacked SMC first and then resorting to horse-trading to buy councillors to support him in the upcoming mayoral election.

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Councillor from Nishat and a potential candidate for the mayoral election, Sheikh Imran says, “In the similar pattern, Mr Mattu has hijacked JKPC when its supremo is under house arrest and can’t undertake any political activity. Majority of leaders and workers in the party are unhappy with the working of Junaid Mattu”.

“The irony is that the person who openly said that we couldn’t dissociate from BJP and has taken BJP’s support in becoming Mayor,” the statement reads.

The statement reads that the party that emerged as the second-most significant party in the Valley is showing fissures due to the arrogance and professional deformity of one person.

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JKPC had emerged as the second-largest vote-getter in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Three candidates from the party who fought the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls lost to JKNC candidates.

Pertinently, the statement has not described the former Mayor as a leader but ‘person’. It reads, “One person can’t destroy a party that has strong organisation and history. Party leaders are dissatisfied with this person’s working. The person is the chief spokesperson, and he is not considering other leaders’ views in releasing statements. He has grown authoritarian.”

Sheikh Imran says, “JKPC had 22 Corporators in 2018 but today there are only 12 left with the party. I was expelled by Junaid Mattu without considering me and party President and Secretary. All the Corporators are fed up with the corruption and high handedness of this person.” He further added, “Many Corporators belonging to JKPC stood up against the dictatorship of this person and left the party. They joined the anti-corruption camp led by Waheed Dar.”

According to the insiders in party, JKPC has not performed up to the expectations and in the same pattern as it did in other constituencies due to unhappy councilors in SMC brought about by Junaid Mattu who had not given due attention and care to them and workers in Srinagar.

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Meanwhile, Mattu has changed several political parties so far. He joined Sajjad Lone’s Peoples Conference party in 2009 and served as the Srinagar district president for the party. In 2013, he switched to the National Conference party and served as its spokesman. He turned back to the People’s Conference before contesting the Srinagar Municipal Corporation elections in 2018. He was elected the Mayor of Srinagar in November 2018 by an alliance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the People’s Conference. On 16 June 2020, Junaid Azim Mattu was removed as Mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation after losing no-confidence motion.

JKPC was founded in 1978 by Abdul Gani Lone and Molvi Iftikhar Ansari. In 2014, Sajjad Gani Lone became its chairman and won two Assembly seats from Handwara and Kupwara in 2014.

JKPC emerged as the second-largest party in the erstwhile State in Lok Sabha-2019 polls. Its most significant political victory was that its candidate was appointed as Srinagar Mayor.

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