Opinion: NC-PDP’s squabble to BJP’s absenteeism in valley adds up to new vacuum

NC of Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, and PDP of Muftis- Mehbooba Mufti and her daughter Iltija Mufti are fighting against each other.

Kashmir’s original plan for the ongoing Parliamentary polls has been replaced with narratives of mutual hostility and confrontation between two premier parties – National Conference and People’s Democratic Party, which not long ago were expected to fight together for the honour of the land and the people. Now things have come down to the level of school boy  type  squabble as to who spoiled the broth. Their proclamation that they would fight for the identity and dignity of Kashmir as it existed before the abrogation of Article  370, seems to have been lost to their hostile rhetoric against each other.

Right now National Conference of Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, and PDP of Muftis- Mehbooba Mufti and her daughter Iltija Mufti are fighting against each other and sparing arrows in their armoury to target each other by name.

Months ahead of the March 16 announcement of the general elections, it was anticipated that NC and PDP would forge a political alliance and contest unitedly to live up to their promise of voicing the cause of the Kashmiris “oppressed by new laws brought into J&K following the abrogation of Article 370  on August 5, 2019 “. This was their claim. They had already set up a forum of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration or PAGD- which was committed to the restoration of Article 370 and a relentless fight for the identity and dignity of Jammu and Kashmir

MS Education Academy

The whole idea of identity and dignity of Kashmiris has undergone an unimaginable transformation since the decisions of August 5, 2019.  Now the identity is seen less in the status that existed prior to the abrogation of Article 370, but as to who can speak louder and effectively in the parliament for the people of Kashmir and their problems. These problems have been given a name of identity and dignity crisis. Indeed, there is a fear in the minds of the people that they were reeling under the rule of outsiders, who neither understand their land, culture, ethos, and language. They don’t identify the bureaucrats from outside as their own. It is not something against the areas they come from, but their know-all attitude. They believe that they know everything while locals are unable to understand the real meaning of development and progress. They cite the locals’ accommodation of terrorism in their midst for over 30 years as a sign of their regressive ways of thought and action. It goes further that it was only after the abrogation of Article 370 and the entry of the officers from outside that they could see the development, and arrival of tourists. This has created a big gap between the locals and new breed of officers from outside of J&K. This gap is getting translated into strains in integration that Article 370 was to deliver.

The ongoing Lok Sabha elections, first such major electoral exercise after the abrogation of Article 370 that snapped separate constitution, flag, and even the exclusive rights of the locals to own immovable property and secure government jobs and admission to professional institutions, were expected to generate new narratives based on hope and promise. That’s not happening. BJP, the cheerleader of the benefits and development that visited Jammu and Kashmir after August 5, 2019, surprisingly absented itself from the Lok  Sabha poll contest from the three seats in the Valley. Whatever might have been the political thinking behind this decision, perhaps a lack of confidence that the party would not be faring well at the hustings that may inflict humiliation on its symbol Lotus, the party leadership left the field open for the regional parties.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have given a call to the voters, “to vote for anyone but not the three dynastic parties – NC, PDP, and Congress” had placed an option for voters in Jammu region’s two seats- BJP itself, but in the Valley  it has taken out that option. This is a blow to its narrative of development and integration. It would have been better for it to contest and know where it stood, and accordingly decide on its future strategy. Backing others is good, but that would not give any idea to the saffron party where it stands- its strengths or weaknesses.  In the absence of it, there is a fear that there may be a bigger vacuum than it exists today

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