BLUNT BUTCHER / ANCHOR
Finally, New Delhi seems to have gird up its loins to call the bluff of the so-called Kashmir mainstream by not succumbing to its ‘time-tested’ politics of browbeat and blackmail.
If Prime Minister Narendra Modi goes with keeping his commitment by holding Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies elections in Jammu and Kashmir, it will be realisation of the Centre about irrelevance of National Conference and Peoples’ Democratic Party.
The two political outfits, which are unable to enforce even an hour’s shut-down in any part of the Valley, cannot be deemed to have representative character. True, they have been contesting elections and bagging votes too but it is because there is no alternative for the people of Kashmir to vote for.
The recent poll boycott of the National Conference or Peoples’ Democratic Party has nothing to do with Article 35A, as they pretend to make out. It is all about hiding their vulnerability due to decades’ long misrule and double speak. The issue of Article 35A is not new; it is under the judicial scrutiny for four years now. The main petition demanding scrapping of the Article 35A was filed before the apex court in 2014 by Delhi-based NGO ‘We the Citizens’. In between 2014 and 2018, the two mainstream parties fought general elections to Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly besides Lok Sabha by-elections in Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency in April 2017. Last month, the NC and the PDP also contested elections to Ladakh Hill Development Council, Kargil but not a single occasion Article 35A assumed such significance for them, like now.
The two mainstream political outfits, which have been sharing power in turns, ought to have been forthright in expressing their reservations in contesting elections due to obtaining adverse security situation, which is not conducive at all. Instead, they took refuge under Article 35A in the mistaken belief of gaining sympathy.
Attributing Article 35A to boycott of polls is an after-thought. In fact, it is to control the damage caused to National Conference by Farooq Abdullah’s ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ sloganeering during the all-party prayers’ meeting in memory of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi. For PDP, it is to recreate the lost space after aligning with BJP to form government in Jammu and Kashmir.
The seven-decade history of Kashmir is replete of instances of double-speak, blackmail and browbeat. As per convenience, the regional players have been blackmailing New Delhi as per their convenience and exigencies to derive maximum benefits. The single point agenda of the Kashmir centric politicians is to browbeat New Delhi and milk it as much as they can. New Delhi has been obliging too, knowing well the standing of the mainstream parties in Kashmir’s political landscape.
While blackmailing New Delhi, these parties play second fiddle to separatists and secessionists. They allow concessions to chronic India bashers at the cost of national security. These concessions manifest in carving out packages for rehabilitation of surrendered terrorists, absorption of stone-pelters in jobs, amnesty to all those attacking police and security forces and last, but not the least, offering all sort of concessions to separatists. These political outfits have never ever acted against separatists and violence mongers for anti-national activities whenever in power. They have failed in presenting strong prosecution in whatever little number of charge-sheets against law breakers presented in the courts of law, during the past twenty eight years. Situation has been so grim that at one point of a time, the pro-terror attitude of the successive governments or the prosecuting agencies in pursuing cases in courts of law was reflected by a judgment delivered by a Principal Sessions Judge on 24th April 2013, indicting the prosecution for failing to prove cases against a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist and his associate. This has been a common feature, thanks to the so-called mainstream leaders. But despite that they have not been able to create a place among sympathizers of terror and separatism in the Valley.
Blackmailing the Centre and playing second fiddle to separatists has rendered the so-called mainstream irrelevant in Kashmir politics. They suffer credibility crisis among the people back home while in New Delhi, the present dispensation appears to have finally decided against succumbing to their diktat and blackmail.
Issuance of poll notification to civic bodies will, therefore, amount to abandonment of NC and PDP by the Centre, finally.
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