It would be interesting to see whether the new Lt-Governor Manoj Sinha will be able to kickstart the political process in Jammu and Kashmir
Robbed of their livelihood several mainstream politicians in Kashmir valley, representing different political ideologies, have once come together to fight a ‘decisive’ battle for their own political survival.
To begin with, they have decided to bury their own differences and have joined hands together with the support of Congress party to carry forward their struggle for the restoration of Statehood, Article 370, and 35A in Jammu & Kashmir. Ironically, none of these leaders consulted their party leaders from the Jammu region before taking the plunge.
The pack of these Kashmiri leaders is currently led by the former Chief Minister and sitting Parliamentarian from Srinagar Dr. Farooq Abdullah. In a signed statement these Kashmiri leaders have made it clear that they remain committed to fighting for the cause of restoration of Article 370 & 35A in Jammu and Kashmir.
The response of the common people on ground zero has also given confidence to the ruling party in New Delhi to engage with the common people instead of negotiating with the Kashmiri politicians.
“We are committed to strive for the restoration of Articles 370 and 35A, the Constitution of J&K and the restoration of the State and any division of the State is unacceptable to us. We unanimously reiterate that there can be ‘nothing about us without us’,” said the statement issued by the leaders of National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, Congress, CPI(M), Awami National Conference and People’s Conference.
Public mood is against mainstream Kashmiri politicians?
The majority of Kashmiri politicians are facing a piquant situation on ground zero. They are just not ready to read the writing on the wall. Sitting inside their ‘ivory’ towers they have lost touch with the Kashmiri masses as well. In the last 1 year, their credibility has been hit hard and they are struggling to gather a sizable number of supporters in their strong bastions. Common people continue to remain silent and going about their routine chores without falling prey to machinations of their vested interests.
It’s been so many months these leaders have been released from political detention but many chose to remain silent and those who try to become vocal have not been issuing political statements or participating in any form of street demonstration.
The reason is that the majority of them are facing a leadership crisis in their strong bastions. The response of the common people on ground zero has also given confidence to the ruling party in New Delhi to engage with the common people instead of negotiating with the Kashmiri politicians.
Dr. Farooq Abdullah himself facing the toughest political challenge?
At 83 years of age, Dr. Farooq Abdullah has made up his mind to go down fighting. Dr. Abdullah may be trying to put up a brave front on the surface but deep inside he is aware he is facing one of the toughest political challenges of his life.
Resurrecting the image of a Kashmiri politician in the eyes of their electorate seems a herculean task. Secondly, making themselves relevant under the new scheme of things is another biggest challenge.
In the coming days, it will be interesting to see how these Kashmiri politicians will behave on ground zero.
Before Abrogating Article 370 and Article 35A the Central Government had stopped entertaining the majority of Kashmiri politicians. Even after ending their political detentions, New Delhi has not given them any hope that they are going to engage them afresh. A closer look at the joint statement issued by these mainstream politicians clearly suggests they are themselves confused and making an effort to confuse their followers too.
On one hand, they treated Article 370 and Article 35A, which granted them the special status as something which the Constitution of India granted them, and now when the same Article has been abrogated they have been claiming it is an ‘unconstitutional’ act and they will not accept the same.
In the coming days, it will be interesting to see how these Kashmiri politicians will behave on ground zero. Whether they will continue to utilize the services of their media friends in New Delhi to broadcast their interviews and pressurize the BJP government or they will hit the streets in Kashmir valley to demonstrate their popularity.
At the same time, it would be interesting to see whether the new Lt-Governor Manoj Sinha will be able to kickstart the political process in Jammu and Kashmir and create a conducive atmosphere to conduct Assembly polls after completing the Delimitation of Assembly constituencies.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.