On 7th August,2020, Manoj Sinha took oath as 2nd L-G of Jammu & Kashmir thereby giving a fillip to the notion that political activity in the Union Territory is about to begin. Whether his appointment is to expedite political process or to take development on fast track will be clear in few months time. Notwithstanding, a group of Kashmiri politicians belonging to various political parties but (perhaps) same ideology deciphered his appointment as signal to restart the ‘campaign’. One would not have expected any suave or mellowed down approach from leader of the group NC patriarch Dr. Farooq Abdullah making the second ‘Gupkar Declaration’ in continuation to the one made on 4th August, 2019, a day before Article370 and 35A were repealed from constitution lock, stock & barrel.Whereas first Gupkar Declaration among other things unanimously resolved “That all the parties would be united in their resolve to protect and defend the identity, autonomy and special status of J&K against all attacks and onslaught whatsoever”, the second declaration made on 22nd August, 2020 vowed to fight collectively against the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status. Further it underlined centre’s decision of 5th August 2019 as “grossly unconstitutional” and a “measure to disempower” the people of J&K. “Nothing about us without us” in ‘Gupkar Declaration II” was perhaps the most hypocritical quote laced with undying sense of entitlement. And the entitled lot belonged to a group of six political parties based out of Kashmir including premier opposition party of India, namely, Indian National Congress.Interestingly,an attempt has been made to attribute the contents of the declaration as will of people of Jammu and Ladakh too. This is a bit farfetched and lacks political imagination on the part of valley leaders. Ladakh has moved on to usher into a new dawn of political emancipation where they will be making their own choices whether political, social or cultural. So anybody in J&K talking about Ladakh’s issues is wasting his time in political gimmickry. Jammu on the other hand has been a sort of revelation for last one year since Article-370 was abrogated. People of Jammu Region rejoiced in favour of the decision and since then have spoken at top of their voices to defend it. Surprisingly, they have become politically very conscious and, today, going by the buzz they create on the social media for every small/big issue concerning the whole province, they have taken away the privilege from politicians acting to be speaking on their behalf. This is because most of the politicians have failed to gauge the pulse of Jammu even after massive electoral successes.National Conference, since the events of last year has been trying to play a part of Senior Pro in the Jammu and Kashmir politics. All Kashmir based parties have willingly submitted themselves to NC’s authority and rightly so because each one of them acknowledge Sheikh’s part in particular and NC’s in general in establishing undisputed reign of hegemonic rule where seat of power shifted from ‘Raje Di Mandi’ to ‘Gupkar Road’. In more ways than one Gupkar, over the years, became synonym to Lutyens in New Delhi.It is tough to lose what was acquired in 72 years. Secretariat, J&K Bank, Universities, entitlements as Ex- CM, all control gone in a year’s time. Many of the executive and administrative powers of future CMs have been curtailed in a recent order by Union government which has baffled the entitled. People of JKUT won’t be surprised if they see a tectonic shift in politicalaspirants changing their preference to be a future Lieutenant-Governor than a future Chief Minister. A lot of political capital has eroded for all thestakeholders.Gupkar has met the same fate in 2019 what Lutyens witnessed in 2014 after Modi came to power. That’s the reason whether Kashmiri political conglomerate likes or not, they have lost whatever little political privilege they perceived on Jammu’s behalf. Jammu doesn’t need to have its spokesperson sitting at Gupkar Road. If anything Jammu based politicians can learn from past mistakes is to get together and speak in one voice for whole region and come with their own political resolution, may be calling it “Raje Di Mandi Resolution”.One needs to be aware about one’s own history and more so, when it is as glorious as 101 years rule of Dogra Maharajas. Works done for women, girl child, education in general, irrigation, financial institutions and military prowess, that too in a state as diverse as Jammu and Kashmir without any forced religious belief and conversion on their subjects in a monarchy, is exemplary and calls for a case study.The fact that today’s generation in Jammu, fast updating its historical know-how and thus becoming politically aware too, doesn’t look upon borrowed politicians from other parts of the UT and country to make a political statement on their behalf. The capable voices are using different mediums like social, print and electronic media to convey Jammu’s call (Pukar) to the ears which matter here and in Delhi too.
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