BLUNT BUTCHER / ANCHOR
JAMMU: In the latest war of wits over civic polls in Jammu and Kashmir, New Delhi has finally outwitted the so-called Kashmir mainstream.
Open revolt and rebellion within two Kashmir centric regional parties, National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, show their inherent contradictions, sheer opportunism and lack of political understanding. This time around ‘time-tested’ browbeat and blackmail from the Valley has not worked. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has disallowed himself to get cowed down by illogic narratives, touching the borders of blackmail, of the PDP and NC that have been sharing power in turns of late. He called the bluff of the two parties and decided to walk the talk by keeping his commitment made at the ramparts of Lal Qila with regard to holding of elections to democratic institutions at the grass roots level.
Filing of nomination by dozens of National Conference and PDP workers, even senior functionaries, in the Jammu Municipal Corporation and other Local Bodies polls speak of the revolt and rebellion that is rocking Kashmir politics. Added to it came the shock-waves from most articulate spokesperson of National Conference Junaid Mattu, who set the trend for those wishing to remain relevant to Kashmir’s electoral politics by participating in the ongoing electoral process. Junaid Mattu resigned, making it big breaking news. The coming days will see the impact of mainstream rebellions in the electoral arena. Junaid Mattu has alleged that leaving the grassroots democratic institutions “open to misrepresentation” would inflict serious harm on the State, and wreak havoc with the social fabric and cultural legacy.
“I will announce my candidature for the ULB elections from Srinagar tomorrow In Sha Allah and I remain committed to serving my people and helping the city I grew up in, meet the challenges it’s faced with,” he said. Is it indicative of more people parting their ways with the traditional mainstream and creating a new block in the Valley? Is it reflection of a new era in the murky Kashmir politics?
Believe political analysts, the rebellion within the Kashmir mainstream is just a trailer to the big act being played in Kashmir’s political theatre ahead of Lok Sabha polls.
The traditional regional parties have erred somewhere in gauging the pulse of New Delhi. National Conference forgot conveniently how PDP came into being after it passed a unanimous resolution in the Legislative Assembly in support of greater autonomy in late nineties. A pressure group got established in the form of PDP, which threatened the foundations of over seven decades National Conference. The loss of NC was the gain of PDP. Similarly, the product of the counter-NC mission-PDP too undermined the political ‘machinations’ being enacted in New Delhi to create a substitute. If it was PDP in late nineties, it can be some other configuration this point of time. The rebellion within the two premier political outfits spells doom for the politics of opportunism and blackmail.
The PDP and the NC leadership comforted themselves in believing New Delhi to succumb to their whims and fancies. Deferment of polls during the heightened terror violence in April 2017 had given the PDP a breather to save its grace by averting imminent defeat of Tassaduq Mufti in by-election to Anantnag Parliamentary Constituency. The towering Farooq Abdullah had won by just bagging half of the paltry 7 per cent of polled votes. Despite this grim response, the two parties kept claiming of having representative character. By making New Delhi toe their line last year, the PDP and the NC had played their cards to win the game by seeking deferment of these elections. New Delhi, however, played its trump card.
Now that the two so-called principle political parties are out of fray in the ongoing civic and panchayat polls, they cannot challenge the representative character of those participating or getting elected-even unopposed. Jammu and Kashmir has entered into interesting phase of its electoral politics. The days to come will spring many surprises and who knows these to be turning point in Jammu and Kashmir politics.
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