Unite, not divide Sir!
Looking at the varying political postures of Dr. Farooq Abdullah, it’s important to remember
that J&K, instead of being disintegrated into regions, should focus on development and
prosperity. The time for divisive politics is over.
AT a time when Assembly Elections in Jammu and Kashmir are nowhere in sight, the politicians aren’t refraining from evoking regionalism and communalism. Politics in Kashmir have always been hyped and enjoyed huge prime-time debates on Delhi-based TV channels. Today, after the annulment of Article 370 and 35(A), a paradigm shift in the mainstream polity and ideology are clearly visible in the streets of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Jammu division is asserting a new brand of politics whereas the Kashmir division is seeing a sharp rise in the birth of new political parties, away from the traditional ones. But, the all-weather politician, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and present Member Parliament, Srinagar, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, is running the same old cart of
politics with conflicting statements in Kashmir, Jammu and Delhi. Interestingly, his statement has a number of takers as well as opponents who don’t waste a moment to support and rebuke him respectively.
During his party function at the headquarters in Jammu, Farooq Abdullah lambasted the Union government and the BJP party for not giving Jammu its due share. He questioned as to why the G-20 meeting wasn’t taking place in Jammu where most of the BJP leaders hold ground. He said, “It is very unfortunate that the G-20 meeting can be held in Ladakh and Kashmir but not in Jammu. Is Jammu not important? It is sad that not a single BJP leader,
even those who chanted ‘Jammu, Jammu and Dogra, Dogra’, raised the issue. They have taken Jammu for granted believing that it is in their pocket”.
His reference was clearly towards his old colleague Davendra Singh Rana, who left the National Conference after his Jammu Declaration document. Rana joined BJP in order to fight for the cause of Jammu division and the Dogra-speaking people of the Jammu region.
The National Conference is emerging as an opponent to the policies of BJP in Jammu and
Kashmir. The party hasn’t appreciated the government for choosing Srinagar as the G-20
destination. Rather its leaders have attacked the central government for digging down Srinagar city to appease G-20 delegates. Pertinently, under the Smart City Project, the LG administration is taking out massive overhaul of the Srinagar City before the G-20 meet on May 24-26 this month.
Firdous Ahmad Tantray, a scholar in Kashmir University says that politicians like Farooq Abdullah realise that ignoring any part of the Union Territory will backfire on them in the coming elections. He maintains, “Farooq Saab is well aware about taking Jammu and Kashmir along. The local issues of both divisions need to be articulated and addressed. No
party can win a majority by ignoring a division of the UT. Farooq Saab has given an open challenge to the BJP to oppose him for his G-20 remarks if their leaders possess any merit”. Interestingly, People’s Conference President and former Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Sajad Gani Lone has accused the NC of colluding with the BJP to have a post-poll alliance between the two. Earlier in erstwhile State, Valley-based politicians were accused of giving contradictory statements in Srinagar and Delhi but now Jammu has become their third destination where statements against the Kashmir hegemony are invoked by these mainstream leaders to keep their flock together in the Jammu region as well. While Farooq’s statement hasn’t gone down well with the politicians in Kashmir, his accusing the government for the G-20 tourism meet in Srinagar is tantamount to vested politics. Elections are no way near the corner but politicians here don’t shy away from discarding the present dispensation. Srinagar Mayor Junaid Azim Mattu has ridiculed the statement of Dr. Farooq Abdullah, accusing him of revolting against Srinagar despite being a Srinagar MP. Says he, “In Jammu, he becomes anti-Srinagar while being the elected Member of Parliament for Srinagar! This is what he has done all his political life – varying postures in different cities. How absolutely revolting and disappointing that Srinagar’s MP is against Srinagar
Dr. Farooq doesn’t stop here. Seeing the mood in Jammu, he is reported to have said that if outsiders are settled here, where will the locals go? He remarked, “They want to vanish this (Dogra) identity and it is very surprising that not a single BJP leader speaks about it. The people from outside will settle here and take our land and jobs slowly.” As Srinagar gears for the G-20 meet now, the Valley based politicians have missed an opportunity to support the central government for picking Srinagar as destination. “If there were a government in
place, what would have been the stand of these politicians?” asks Professor Swamim who teaches Political Science. Talking to KC, he further adds, “What would have been the stand of these leaders had there been an Assembly here? We need to understand that it’s a tourism delegate meeting of G-20 countries. It will help Kashmir emerge as a top
tourist destination by showcasing our untapped potential”.
He further points: “G-20 isn’t a political feed of local politicians. They have a right of accusing the administration for being slow in the Smart City Project development of Srinagar and the impediments people face. We need to understand that India hasn’t demanded presidentship of G-20 but was in the troika of being the head for the
year”. Well, the writing is on the wall: The old brand of politics has only a few takers today in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Politicians need to understand that J&K should not be disintegrated into regions, and the focus should be development
and prosperity rather than divisive politics.