After winning the Srinagar parliamentary seat with a margin of over 10,000 votes, National Conference patron and three-time chief minister Dr Farooq Abdullah immediately demanded the imposition of Governor’s rule in the state. He also pitched for a dialogue with Pakistan and Hurriyat Conference.
Farooq Abdullah, President, National Conference My effort will be to start a dialogue with Pakistan. I’m calling all stakeholders in Kashmir and make a strategy to present it before the Centre. The Hurriyat leaders are important stakeholders in Kashmir and the dialogue should be initiated with them as well.
Can Farooq Abdullah be a Game-Changer?
This was Farooq Abdullah’s victory speech which ought to be marked with celebratory remarks but his comments depict the ugly turn of happenings in Kashmir.
His remarks showcase how the present dispensation of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have mishandled the affairs in Kashmir.
Yes, politics is the art of the possible, and perhaps it’s also about seizing an opportunity at an opportune time.
In such a scenario, will Abdullah be able to convince the Indo-Pak leadership with a win-win situation for both sides, at the same time satiating the collective aspirations of the people of Jammu & Kashmir on either side of LoC?
And if he fails in doing so, it will be regarded as a volte-face by the common people in Kashmir who’ve always taken him at face value.
Touching a Raw Nerve
Political commentator and senior journalist Riyaz Masroor says, “His win has had a bloody backdrop as he himself said in the victory speech that he never has experienced such a turmoil during elections since he joined politics.”
Riyaz Masroor, Political Commentator & Senior Journalist Whatever has been happening in the last eight to nine months in Kashmir, mostly during the by-elections, has completely damaged the reputation of pro-India politics in Kashmir.
So what exactly is the NC patron trying to achieve my making such provocatory statements? Analysts suggest his remarks are inspired by hopes of reviving his party’s fortune in the Valley amidst seething anger and frustration among people since last year’s unrest.
According to Masroor, buoyed by his recent victory, Abdullah Senior might have three objectives in mind:
Firstly, he would try to restore the credibility of his own party which has received a beating since 2010.
Secondly, he would like to restore the lost ground of dialogue with people in Kashmir which has eroded during the Mufti-era.
Thirdly, he would try and become an interface between the angry youth, Hurriyat and New Delhi.
United Against Hindutva Forces
Only a few days before elections, Farooq Abdullah had said that a stone-pelter is giving away his life for the resolution of Kashmir imbroglio.
As far as the common Kashmiris are concerned, Farooq Abdullah for many, is the last hope that can pull people out of the present political morass.
However, the hardened stand he has maintained against Hindutva forces since last few months will be now be tested in Parliament.
After all, before the Lok Sabha bypolls, Farooq Abdullah had also sought support from his one-time arch-rival, the separatist-leaning party, Jamaat-e-Islami.
Imran Nabi Dar, Provincial Spokesperson, National Conference Farooq Abdullah’s win is a clear message to the Hindutva forces that the people of Kashmir have rejected the communal forces. Second, it is also a clear message to the PDP and Mehbooba Mufti that it was a referendum against her policies.
More Bad News for PDP
There is also no good news for the PDP if we look at the results of Srinagar parliamentary seat. The National Conference (NC) took lead in five out of eight segments in the city. The results show how much the PDP vote base has weaned away since 2014 Assembly elections, when the party had won five seats in Srinagar.
Anger Against Ruling Govt
Kashmir is on the brink. As I conclude this piece one more youth has been killed in firing in Batamloo. With every passing day, more videos of atrocities against civilians have started appearing on social media.
In such a charged atmosphere, Farooq Abdullah’s victory is being seen as a succour by the common people in Kashmir not because they have a soft corner for him but due to a rage against the present political dispensation in Kashmir.
(The writer is a Srinagar-based freelance journalist. He can be reached @DaanishNabi. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
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