NC, PDP have ‘problem’ for every ‘solution’

Raman Suri
Former Chief Minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Mehbooba Mufti, who didn’t let her party cadres participate in the last urban local body polls, on Saturday questioned the credibility of the Election Commission of India (ECI) by calling it as a branch of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). A political party which has lost most of its MLAs and party workers to other political parties, had boycotted municipal corporation elections, is struggling to keep its flock together and has joined hands with the National Conference (NC)- a party which her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed opposed tooth and nail for being corrupt and rigging elections, is calling the “Kettle Black”.
This speaks of her frustration and sole aim of keeping the people of Kashmir in dark for her vested interests. Mehbooba Mufti, who is the unquestioned President of the party that lacks democracy and had after winning last elections made her brother Tassaduq Hussain Mufti a minister while ignoring senior party colleagues, is today questioning the credibility of a constitutional body. Tassaduq was Tourism Minister in her sister’s kitchen cabinet and last year in November, was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case. The criminal investigation pertained to funds allegedly received by him from some Kashmir-based businesses.
A month ago, on October 29, 2022 former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had said that the situation in Kashmir has deteriorated, forcing Kashmiri Pandit employees to flee the Valley and the government is projecting normalcy by faking the tourist arrival. Mehbooba took a cue from Omar’s statement and a day after, on October 30, 2022, again accused Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of failing to stop the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits after target killings. Strangely enough, both these former Chief Ministers chose to criticise the Union or the UT Government but didn’t utter a single word to condemn the mentors of those unleashing violence in Kashmir.
These leaders also chose to stay mum on advising youth of Kashmir to not get swayed away by propaganda of Pakistan – a failed state. Their divisive statements also didn’t have any word for youngsters requesting them to join mainstream politics or seek benefits of Government schemes floated during any regime, be it theirs or that of the present Government. This clearly indicates that these leaders, who were earlier at daggers drawn, have joined hands only to keep the nationalistic forces or those who are trying to build a safe, calm, progressive and opportunity-driven Kashmir, at bay, to have a free run for themselves.
Their attitude reflects how sincere they are with the people of Kashmir or those who have lost their youngsters in violence. It also establishes that both National Conference (NC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and even Congress have a ready ‘problem’ for every ‘solution’ and these outfits are also blind to the development that is taking place in the Union Territory for the first time in past 75 years. Unable to digest their eroding mass base, unprecedented development or people of Kashmir seeing their true colours, these parties are now trying to confuse people with their false and frivolous statements.
Had these parties been so sincere to the people of Kashmir, the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and now Union Territory, would have seen other than Abdullahas and Muftis, many young boys and girls as Chief Ministers or as holding other constitutional posts to deliver their best ideas. But the past record says that these families had blocked all means of development and stood like a wall between democracy and the common people, which is why they chose to run the state with just the legislators and hesitated to decentralise powers to the grassroot levels.
It was during the tenure of former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah that the term of urban local bodies was allowed to lapse without holding elections to them. And when the elections were held, PDP chose to boycott the same, knowingly that this time it was the chance of lower rung party cadres to get elected and serve the community. Unable to digest empowerment of the common masses, one party allowed Municipal Corporations and committees to lapse and another one didn’t let its cadres participate in the same whenever held.
Strangely, not having travelled on the road from Jammu to Srinagar or any other village roads, these leaders who had confined their politics merely to the capital cities of Jammu, Srinagar or Delhi, are blind to development that is taking place in Jammu and Kashmir. To them, Jammu-Akhnoor flyover, Jammu-Poonch Road, Zojila tunnels, smart cities of Srinagar and Jammu, campuses of IIT and AIIMS coming up at a fast pace, ring roads in Srinagar and Jammu, electrification of villages and piped water supply to every house is not development, which is why they always choose stay mum and don’t even look at these projects with a positive thought.
IIT, IIM and AIIMS were a distant dream in their tenures but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chose to sanction these institutions for Jammu and Kashmir and the present dispensation led by LG Manoj Sinha is ensuring their fast development so that the people of Kashmir as well as those of Jammu don’t have to travel long distances to seek good healthcare facilities or impart quality education to their wards. The UT is also preparing to host some events for G-20 nations for the first time in history and that’s also not good news for these politicians, who see just negative in everything.
These leaders can see violence but can’t see Pakistan abetting it, they can see poor and hapless unarmed people getting killed but can’t see terrorists brandishing guns, they can see people migrating for the fear of their lives but can’t see who’s scaring them away, they can see people fleeing homes but can’t see or greet devotees celebrating festivals at Lal Chowk, they can see violence but can’t see separatists’ shops shut and most importantly, they can see the Election Commission of India as branch of BJP but can’t see it holding national or state elections fairly wherein even the last person on mountains or sea coasts excises his/her right to franchise.
Basically, these leaders have lost their ploy and instead of looking into the issues confronting people, are trying to bank upon unproductive and illogical statements or rope in Pakistan to fume unrest in Kashmir, that is actually calming down. Today, when films are being screened in Kashmir, serene locations are being used for film shootings, youngsters are starting their ventures, children are going to schools without any interruption, businesses are flourishing and villages are getting connected to the cities and cities to the nation, PDP, NC and Congress are seeing ground beneath their feet slipping. Those Abdullahs and Muftis who are today showing their concern over a few Pandits leaving the Kashmir Valley were either silent, mute spectators or camping in London at the time of exodus of the Pandits.
Disillusioned and derailed political outfits, having their headquarters in Srinagar, are trying to find a foothold in Jammu, which is why they keep speaking different languages at different places. The ancient proverb, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”, best suits these politicians who are against BJP in order to regain their hold. Strangely, what looks pleasing to the eyes is not always exactly like that, especially with NC and PDP. NC has already dumped PDP and decided to go solo in the next elections, whenever held in Jammu and Kashmir while the PDP chief has decided to not contest until Articles 370 and 35A are brought back.
It was the former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad who, in his first rally after leaving Congress, replied to these resolutions of Omar and Mehbooba in Kashmir by saying, “restoration of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir was unlikely to happen. For votes, I won’t mislead people like other parties. To restore Article 370, political parties would need a majority in the Lok Sabha of around 350 votes and 175 in the Rajya Sabha. This is a number no political party has or is likely to ever get”.
On April 10, 2017, when Mehbooba Mufti was the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and a cycle of violence was let loose, it was former Chief Minister and opposition National Conference’s working President Omar Abdullah who had said that he never saw this level of violence in elections in Kashmir. Strangely, when in 2010, Omar Abdullah was the Chief Minister, it was Mehbooba who was irked and had said, “A handful of people inciting violence in Kashmir, cannot be compared to 2010 unrest”. She had gone on to say, “Only a handful of people were inciting violence in the region, and that 95 percent of the population were peace-loving”.
For her knowledge, those very handful of people inciting violence are today on the run. Since Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and LG administration has decided to have zero tolerance towards militancy besides love and affection for 95 percent population, things in Kashmir are falling in place and there’s no scope for anyone to incite violence by his or her vague, irresponsible, unproductive and divisive statements. Mehbooba Mufti must check for herself that despite her statement that no one will unfurl Tricolour – Indian flag in Kashmir if Article 370 is abrogated, people today are living peacefully and the Tricolour is standing with full honour. As said by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, not even a single bullet was fired in Kashmir and no violence took place when Article 370 was abrogated, shows that it was all in the larger interest of people.
Today, stone pelters are nowhere to be seen, Hurriyat doesn’t exist at all, mainstream politicians through urban local bodies and Panchayats are working relentlessly for the welfare of people and days of curfew, boycott or bandhs are a passé. Now that Jammu and Kashmir is likely to witness elections anytime, it is in the larger interest of common people that they stay away from such negative people for the simple reason that they have a ‘problem’ for every ‘solution’.
(The writer is Bharatiya Janata Party J&K Executive Member)

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