Decision to drop me a susprise: PDP's Drabu

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An economist-turned- Business Standard journalist-turned banker (he was chairman of J&K Bank for a long time in mid-2000s) who then turned politician, Drabu is adept at finding his way around the power-circles of Delhi; the powers that many say control the levers of power in J&K.

Drabu had framed the Agenda for Alliance (AoA), the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), when PDP and BJP came together to form the government led by PDP founder Mufti Muhammad Sayeed in March 2015.

Drabu, 57, one of the architects of the PDP-BJP alliance in the state, was sacked yesterday following his remark that people were "barking up the wrong tree" as the Kashmir issue was not a political issue.

In a statement issued by Drabu on Tuesday, he said "The decision to drop me did come as a surprise but what was shocking was the manner and method of communicating it".

After dropping Drab, PDP has already said that it will take a decision whether he will be a part of the party in the coming days. "I was not accorded the opportunity to explain the context and the content of my speech", he said.

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Further clarifying on the speech, Drabu stated that "My speech focused on the role of civil society in resolving the issue of Kashmir. She may have shunted Drabu out from the ministry much earlier had she been sure the BJP wouldn't object or make life hard for her", said a senior J&K bureaucrat. The party (PDP) saw that this is an issue.

The former finance minister, who won elections from Rajpora assembly seat of Pulwama in south Kashmir, said there were innuendoes that "I said this or was made to say this with an ulterior motive".

"Nor does it dent its image".

Drabu's sacking by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is, therefore, being seen as hard posturing by the PDP and an attempt to regain the party's lost constituency in the Valley.

Drabu's remarks at a meeting in Delhi to promote economy of the state had created a controversy giving an opportunity to his detractors to make Mehbooba take the extreme step of sacking her trusted minister. Although it's an internal matter of the PDP but his statement of Kashmir not being a political issue was condemned by everyone cutting across the party lines in Kashmir, he said.