Five years of Central Rule and still counting

Five years on, the residents of Jammu and Kashmir are still waiting for Apni Sarkar - what are the challenges?

Five years on, the residents of Jammu and Kashmir are still waiting for Apni Sarkar - what are the challenges?
Five years on, the residents of Jammu and Kashmir are still waiting for Apni Sarkar - what are the challenges?

Is Jammu and Kashmir ready for elections?

Jammu and Kashmir: General elections are held every five years in India to elect a government at the Centre. Similarly, the state Assembly polls are also conducted to elect a democratically elected Chief Minister across various Indian states.

Jammu and Kashmir was the only exception where Assembly polls were held every six years before the Abrogation of Article 370 as it granted special status to J&k.

On August 5, 2019, when the special status was also withdrawn the erstwhile state of J&k was reorganized into two Union territories namely UT of Jammu, Kashmir and UT of Ladakh.

As per the Constitution of India, now elections were supposed to be held every five years.

But on June 19, 2023, when J&K completed five years of Central rule no hue and cry was raised in support of holding Assembly polls. The day passed off peacefully barring a token showdown on social media.

Since June 19, 2018, the day Bharatiya Janta Party decided to call it quits and withdrew support from the Mehbooba Mufti-led alliance government in Jammu and Kashmir, the people of the region are yearning for a popular government.

The tug of war to acquire reins of power is going on across various social media platforms but sadly, no major public outpouring was witnessed in any of the two distinct regions of Jammu and Kashmir in support of electing a people-friendly government.

Meanwhile, a cursory look at the regular statements made by different political parties in the region clearly suggested the chorus for holding Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir is growing louder with every passing day.

Feeling the heat of growing unrest among the masses across the Jammu region, even the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has started urging the Election Commission to announce the poll dates. Veteran Congress leader and Chairman of the Democratic Progressive Azad Party, Ghulam Nabi Azad is also pushing for early Assembly polls.

The last Assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir took place between 26 November-20 December 2014.

If the G20 meeting can take place in Kashmir, why not the political process?

Recently when the Union government successfully organized the G20 Working group meeting in Srinagar it invited all the delegates and several other invitees to see for themselves the transformation that has been achieved on ground zero post Abrogation of Article 370 but when a straight question was asked by the media persons if this working group meeting can take place why not the political process? The Union Minister addressing the media went ballistic.

Instead of responding to the question of a local scribe the Minister said, “I have been part of the media for quite some time; I think this question is motivated by the mindset which was haunting the earlier friend. The Minister later also suggested the presence of the local government made the restoration of the Assembly less than urgent.

“What do you mean by that? The political process is already going on. We have DDCs (district development councils) in place, BDCs (block development councils), and panch and sarpanch councils. Is that not part of the political process to you?” he said.

“You should compliment us, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that district councils were introduced after 70 years.”

Democracy in India ends where Jammu and Kashmir begins: Omar

Former J&K Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah Monday tweeted saying democracy in India ends where Jammu and Kashmir begins.

“Democracy is in our veins, it is in our culture’; ‘India is the mother of democracy’; ‘India is the temple of democracy’. Great sounding words that the international community lap up & regurgitate ad-nauseam. Meanwhile, J&K completes 5 years under Central rule today. Democracy ends where J&K begins,” he tweeted.

On the other hand, PDP spokesperson Mohit Bhan took a relatively harsh stand by claiming that the entire nation should hang its head in shame.

“Entire nation and its leadership must hang their heads in shame for calling itself ‘Mother Of Democracy’. J&K languishes under Central rule for a staggering 5 years, with the last election held 9 years ago. The blatant disregard for people’s rights & representation is appalling,” he said in a tweet.

Vacuum in Jammu and Kashmir needs to be filled: Election Commission of India

Taking note of the prevailing political scenario across Jammu and Kashmir, the Chief Election Commissioner of India had earlier stated that there is a vacuum in Jammu and Kashmir that needs to be filled.

So far the Election Commission of India has completed the revision of the electoral rolls after completing the marathon exercise of delimitation of Assembly segments in Jammu and Kashmir.

The political parties have been regularly urging the Election Commission of India to visit both the divisions of Jammu and Kashmir and take a first-hand review of the security situation before taking a final call on the schedule of the Assembly polls. The ECI is expected to visit the Union territory after the culmination of the 62-day-long Amarnath yatra beginning July 1.

1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

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