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Kashmir votes for change. And its old political players are in panic

Arshid Lone
Arshid LoneOct 23, 2018 | 16:03

Kashmir votes for change. And its old political players are in panic

The much anticipated civic polls in Jammu and Kashmir were recently held amid threats from militant groups — and unjustifiable boycott calls from both mainstream political parties and separatists. Local bodies/municipals are the basic structure of any democracy and one of the three tiers of government. The poll percentage, however, was low, but I applaud the courage of those candidates and voters who overwhelmingly participated in these polls.

Fear is induced and created. To overcome it is bravery.

People came out and voted for their welfare with the hope of getting basic issues resolved in their areas.    

But two major political parties – the National Conference and the PDP – boycotted the polls in solidarity with Article 35A. However, the hearing on this was deferred to next year and somehow that didn’t go well with their dissimulative plans. For them, a boycott was actually a tool for assembly electoral gains. They fielded proxy candidates — who didn’t even manage to win.

The poll results declared on October 20 set a new trend of change which saw the NC and PDP kept outside the boundary line.

From the Youth Alliance to the Peoples’ Conference (PC), we saw new players emerging and triumphing. The Congress conquered Ladakh and the BJP was victorious in Jammu and claimed seats in the Kashmir Valley as well.

voter1-copy_102318013645.jpgThreats and fear of terror attacks didn't stop the people from lining up to vote. (Photo: PTI)

The Peoples’ Conference swept North Kashmir and a mayoral post in Kashmir's capital. The PC nominated Junaid Azim Mattoo as their mayoral candidate in Srinagar. He was earlier a spokesperson of the National Conference and had only resigned from the party before contesting polls.

Since the National Conference and the PDP were not sincere about their much-touted 'boycott', he did not pay much heed to their fictitious calls. Peoples’ Conference’s restructuring and emerging as a major party in North Kashmir right after the ULB poll results is something both the NC and PDP would have never wished to happen. The much-vaunted 'third front' is now actually happening. the Likes of Imran Reza Ansari, Junaid Mattoo and other PDP rebels seem to have joined Sajad Lone’s camp — and it has surprised both the NC and PDP.

untitled-design-4-co_102318021843.jpgKashmir's Third Front is slowly emerging. Will it give the Valley a much-needed break? (Photo: DailyO)

The bitterness shows.

In a recent interview, former Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti termed the candidates who contested the urban local body polls as "rogue elements". Such statements are deplorable as they only make people lose faith in elections. The remark also shows how the former CM has stooped to a new low. After all, a party apparently backed by militants and one that has reportedly renegades in it should not be so quick to designate others as 'rogues'.

Even though Mehbooba Mufti has claimed that it was not viable to hold such elections at the grass-root level, the fact remains that her party contested polls when militancy was at its peak and the situation was even worse in the Valley. As such, making such allegations is an insult to democracy and the people who work hard to strengthen it.  

mehbooba_102318013806.jpgSorry, Ms Mufti, your words lack conviction. (Photo: PTI)

Her party boycotted the ULB polls and now she is pitching for fresh Assembly elections. What kind of hypocrisy is this? Why not boycott Assembly and Lok Sabha elections too? Are boycotts confined to only ULB polls? I’m not biased against a party or any person, but frankly, her statements are not supported by real conviction.  

Her party members further politicised the killing of people at an encounter site in South Kashmir’s Kulgam. They must recall that South Kashmir became a hub for young boys joining militant ranks in PDP’s tenure and they must introspect on the root causes of the current situation.

The need of the hour is greater resolutions — not narrow politics.

Last updated: October 23, 2018 | 16:03
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