November 29, 2020

DDC polls: A new beginning

The election to district development councils (DDCs) is by all means beginning of a new chapter in the mainstream politics of Jammu & Kashmir as it is more about growing public concerns on the provocative measures taken by the central government on citizenship and land rights of J&K residents since August 5 last year and less about democracy at the grass roots under plan of three tier local self governance system in Jammu & Kashmir. Non BJP parties including National Conference, PDP, Peoples Conference, Congress and others have  come together under the banner of Peoples’ Alliance For Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) against the BJP and newly launched Jammu & Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) accused of collaborating with the BJP controlled central government over it’s last year’s August 5 decisions on erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state. While the parties aligning with the Peoples’ Alliance For Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) are carrying a huge burden of political betrayals and backtracks of last seventy years as they have been part of several popular governments of erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state for long and short spans, the Jammu & Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) carries the burden of it’s huge failures in short span of few months over it’s negotiations with the present central government on a new domicile law, new land laws, delimitation initiative and lastly restoration of statehood. While elections have given BJP an opportunity to establish it’s presence in Kashmir valley, the participation of parties aligning with the Peoples’ Alliance For Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) denies BJP the opportunity to show it’s presence in Kashmir . In the fast changing political scenario even the future of Altaf Bukhari’s newly launched J&K Apni Party is at stake. Restoration of special status and statehood as it existed on August 4,2019 is the new slogan of the Peoples’ Alliance For Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) comprising  NC, PDP, PC, and others and on the contrary Altaf Bukhari’s J&K Apni Party harps on the slogans of “ politics of possibilities” and “politics of impossibilities”. Undoubtedly the restoration of special status and statehood is not a struggle of months and days given the fact that Supreme Court would take a long time to deliver a final judgment on the bunch of petitions filed by J&K parties against withdrawal of special status and J&K Reorganisation Act 2019.

While the emergence of J&K Apni Party in Kashmir could deepen the roots of political polarization in Kashmir valley and encourage the BJP to try for more political splits in the traditional mainstream parties , the defeat of BJP in the significant areas of Jammu region at the hands of Peoples’ Alliance For Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) would be a blow to the politics of polarization in Jammu & Kashmir and may even force the BJP controlled central government to review and even roll back some of it’s provocative decisions taken by it over the  rights of J&K residents on jobs, lands and  address their core concerns on delimitation of the assembly constituencies. 

Since any judgment if at all is delivered against the central government’s last year’s August 5 decisions won’t come in short time, Altaf Bukhari heading the J&K Apni party could overtake Peoples’ Alliance For Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) if central government would have stood by his side over demands on 25 years qualifying period for J&K domiciles, cap on the land buying rights on non J&K residents, accommodation and adjustment of Kashmir concerns on delimitation initiative and statehood. When Home Minister Amit Shah refused to give any time frame for restoration of statehood in his recent interview to a news channel in Delhi and instead ordered implementation of provocative land laws triggering resentment and resistance even in Jammu division, nothing remains there for Altaf Bukhari and his J&K Apni Party to make people believe in his slogan of the “politics of possibilities”. While the leading players of the Peoples’ Alliance For Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) including National Conference and Peoples Conference have the advantage of being the challengers to the J&K’s Special Status scrapping and J&K Reorganisation Act 2019 in the Supreme Court of the country, Altaf Bukhari is at a disadvantage for the simple reason of not being a challenger to either withdrawal of statehood and special status or the implementation of J&K Reorganisation Act 2019 in the top court of the country. While BJP has to prove that it does not surrender any of the areas won by it in the last parliamentary elections Peoples Alliance For Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) in Jammu region , the J&K Apni Party faces the challenge of proving it’s existence  in Kashmir valley and Jammu region which solely depends on the performance of former ministers of PDP and Congress  against their rivals in the Peoples’ Alliance For Gupkar Declaration (PAGD). While the emergence of J&K Apni Party in Kashmir could deepen the roots of political polarization in Kashmir valley and encourage the BJP to try for more political splits in the traditional mainstream parties , the defeat of BJP in the significant areas of Jammu region at the hands of Peoples’ Alliance For Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) would be a blow to the politics of polarization in Jammu & Kashmir and may even force the BJP controlled central government to review and even roll back some of it’s provocative decisions taken by it over the  rights of J&K residents on jobs, lands and  address their core concerns on delimitation of the assembly constituencies.

 

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