Demand for separate statehood for Jammu region is expected to gain currency
In a major political shakeup in Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference President and former J&k Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah have finally decided to team up with his arch-rival Mehbooba Mufti of Peoples Democratic Party, Sajjad Lone of Peoples Conference, and three other marginal players representing CPI(M), Awami National Conference (ANC) and Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM) to carry forward the ‘constitutional’ fight against the Abrogation of Article 370.
The Kashmiri leaders who all attended the crucial meeting at the residence of Dr Farooq Abdullah also rechristened Gupkar declaration of August 4, 2019, and labelled it as ‘Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration’ at the end of the marathon meeting.
Earlier, Dr Abdullah had extended a personal invitation to PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti, who was released from detention after a gap of 14 long months, to attend the meeting before making public their intention to take New Delhi head-on in the court of law.
The Unit Chief of Bharatiya Janta Party in Jammu and Kashmir Ravinder Raina said, it is not a peoples alliance. It is an alliance of power-seekers in Kashmir valley under the ambit of Gupkar agenda”.
Sajjad Lone of Peoples Conference, MY Tarigami of CPI(M), Muzaffar Shah of Awani National Conference and Javid Mustafa Mir of Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement also attended the meeting as they too were signatories of the previous Gupkar Declaration, a resolution issued after an all-party meeting on August 4, 2019, ahead of the Abrogation of Article 370.
Addressing media persons soon after the meeting concluded, Dr Abdullah said that the resolution passed on August 4 last year by the mainstream political parties in the valley has been named as “Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration”.
He said, “Our agenda is to fight for the restoration of last year’s August 4 position. Our battle is a constitutional battle”, he added.
Abdullah also stated that the signatories will also fight for the rights that were snatched last year from Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. “We also want that the steps be taken for the resolution of Kashmir issue and all the stakeholders should be taken on board in this regard,” he added.
Dr Abdullah said the next meeting of the signatories will be held in the coming days and the decision taken for the future course of action will be made public on that particular day.
“We will also visit people from the other regions of the state so that we can have a broader discussion on the issues we are putting before the people of the state and the Government of India”, Dr Abdullah told reporters.
How New Delhi will respond?
Now it would be interesting to see how the ruling dispensation in New Delhi would respond to this political development in Srinagar. Political observers closely watching these developments claimed, “for the time being New Delhi will adopt wait and watch policy and not react to these machinations.”
They observed, “In the last one year, all the mainstream political leaders have faced credibility crisis on ground zero and now when they are free they are indulging in political theatrics to resurrect their own party image in the eyes of the electorate”.
Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and Article 370 in the last 70 years did criminal injustice with the common man in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. There is no chance of restoration of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir
Commenting on the waning popularity of some of these leaders, political pundits said, “PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti has been left with only a handful of close aides to fall back upon. Many popular faces have already left the party. Under the prevailing circumstances, it was a better bargain for her to join Abdullah’s bandwagon to stay afloat and survive the storm”. Peoples Conference Chief Sajjad Lone is also a lone warrior.
Similar is the case with CPI(M) leader MY Tarigami. He is the lone leftist in Kashmir valley who has never lost an election. Muzaffar Shah, Vice President of Awami National Conference is also a spent force with very poor voter base in Kashmir valley. His father dethroned Dr Farooq Abdullah to form his own government in July 1984. Javaid Mustafa Mir is also the lone face of Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement after former IAS Officer Shah Faesal decided to call it quits after launching the political party last year.
Another section of these political pundits opined, “by joining hands together all the Kashmiri leaders have decided to put their eggs in one basket. No one has stopped them from fighting their case in the court of law. If they have claimed it is going to be a constitutional battle, let them battle it out in the court of law”.
A Jammu based think tank and a section of columnists feel it is time for New Delhi to empower people of Jammu region politically. If Kashmiri leaders have joined hands it is highly likely there will be a demand for granting statehood to Jammu region to end the 70-year long discrimination with the people of Jammu region.
Its an alliance of power-seekers in Kashmir valley: BJP
Reacting to the political development in Kashmir valley, the Unit Chief of Bharatiya Janta Party in Jammu and Kashmir Ravinder Raina said, it is not a peoples alliance. It is an alliance of power-seekers in Kashmir valley under the ambit of Gupkar agenda”.
Raina said, “Abdullah pariwar and Mufti pariwar are trying to instigate the common Kashmiri against India but the people in Jammu and Kashmir will expose their nefarious designs “.
He said, “they are dancing and acting on the tunes of anti-national forces. They don’t want peace and harmony in Jammu and Kashmir. They just want a blood bath, terrorism, stone-pelting. They are always doing politics over dead bodies in Jammu and Kashmir”.
Raina said, “Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and Article 370 in the last 70 years did criminal injustice with the common man in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. There is no chance of restoration of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. We will not allow these families to carry forward their anti-national agenda”.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.