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NC's new theatrics and drama of Election boycott
9/12/2018 9:37:52 PM
Omkar Dattatray

The mainstream Kashmir centric political satraps are habitual of making controversial statements to gain media limelight as they think that their image and standing has got a setback. It is unfortunate and disturbing that J&K's oldest political party seems to be hell bent on following the pro-Separatist agenda and thus is issuing boycott calls for the already announced elections to urban local bodies and Panchayats by the governor's administration. National conference boasts itself of having fought for self rule and democracy in the early 40's. It also prides for its secular image and slogan of Hindu-Muslim-Sikh Ithehad which was so dear to its propounder Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah. It is in fact a movement as far as the statements of its leaders are concerned. But the irony is that the top leader of this Kashmir centric political party is issuing controversial statements to browbeat the central government and to win back its core constituency in Kashmir. NC's president and the Lok Sabha member from Srinagar Dr. Farooq Abdullah has given a boycott call for the ULB and Panchayat elections perhaps to win back the trust and confidence of Kashmiri voters as NC leaders seem to be apprehensive about the party's support base in Kashmir. The NC Supremo has given a statement of desisting from ULB and panchayat elections in support of the controversial article 35-A of the constitution which is sub-judice in the apex Court of the land. The Ex-chief minister has also given a statement to boycott the assembly and parliament elections also if the centre will not clear its stand on article 35-A. By issuing such statements NC president is trying to blackmail the central government and to gain the trust, confidence and sympathy of Kashmir's gullible masses. The NC Supremo has made a U-turn from its earlier position as far as the ULB and panchayat elections are concerned. Earlier NC was in favour of holding and participating in the local body elections to usher in an era of gross root democracy but suddenly it has distanced itself from participating in the long due elections under the so called garb of threat to article 35-A and J&K constitution. It is only a political drama and theatrics of the grand old party of Kashmir to hoodwink the central government and gain mass support in the elections for which schedule has already been issued by the state government. It is ridiculous and a double standard of NC that on one hand the party has warmly participated in the LAHDC Kargil elections in which the party has emerged victorious and on 2nd September Farooq Abdullah has complemented people of Kargil for their support and trust in National conference and on the other hand party is distancing itself to participate in UBL and Panchayat elections under a well knit dramatics and garb of so called threat to article 35-A of the constitution which grants special privileges and rights to the subjects of J&K. The poll boycott statement of Farooq Abdullah has not done any good either to its party or to the voters of the state. Through the controversial statements the party is making damage control exercise to win the sympathy of the electorate of J&K. But then these statements will not help NC to win the confidence of gullible voters of Kashmir. It is likely that such controversial remarks time and again will backfire. The NC President has chanted the slogan of Bharat Mata ki jai at the All Party condolence meet to pay tribute to Late Atal Behari Vajapayee. Farooq Abdullah's statement that Kashmiri Muslims feel that they have no place in India due to abominable mob lynching should open the eyes of the leaders of India. He has further stated that how can he convince the Kashmiris about the secular and democratic culture of country. NC President has set a deadline that until and unless the central government will not make its stand clear on article 35-A it will not participate in the ensuing elections. He has further opined that GOI must make its stand clear on safeguarding article 35-A and J&K's constitution for ensuring its participation in local body elections. It is strange but unfortunate that NC's Supremo is blowing hot and cold at the same time. On one point of time he was strong advocate of the ULB and Panchayat elections but now he has distanced from it. He has even threatened to boycott the assembly and parliamentary elections if the centre government will not make its stand clear for safeguarding article 35-A of the constitution. But then there are a few or no takers to the views of Farooq Abdullah who is habitual of giving controversial statements time and again. This political melodrama of not participating in the elections is a political gimmick and tool to hoodwink gullible voters and blackmail central leadership. At one time, he had advocated that gross root democracy should be restored by holding the elections and now he has made a complete U-turn by declaring that NC will not be a part of this exercise till centre government will not make its position clear on article 35-A inside the court and outside as well. It is very sad that the champion of democracy and secularism is desisting NC from participation in ULB and Panchayat polls. How sad and unfortunate it is that an unfounded fear psychosis is created in people in the name of little known article 35-A of Indian constitution by NC and other mainstream parties. The fact is no one is tinkering with article 35-A which is sub-judice and no one can annual J&K's constitution which is in fact foundation stone of the state's accession with India. Therefore, GOI is neither tinkering with state's separate constitution nor with article 35-A both of which are sacrosanct to the people of J&K as the Indian constitution is for the people of India. So there is no threat to the state constitution from the central government. Then unnecessary hype and drama is enacted by the separatists and the mainstream parties of Kashmir in which NC is in the forefront. People of J&K are the masters of their destiny and have a unique, special and enviable position among all federating units of India. Only unnecessary controversies are being created by NC to hoodwink the Kashmiri masses and regain the lost ground in Kashmir. The fact is that NC is shying from taking part in the grass root democratic exercise under pressure from Separatists and thus has it distanced from participating in the elections. It may not be out of place to mention that even PDP has also some reservations so far as their participation in the local body elections is concerned. PDP wanted that an All Party meeting be held by the administration before announcing dates for elections. The position of the Congress is also not clear. Thus, it seems that the Separatists and mainstream Kashmir Centric parties are on the same page so far as the participation in elections is concerned. The JKNPP chairman Harsh Dev Singh has rightly demanded from ECI that those political parties should be derecognized who issue statements of poll boycott. Anyway governor's administration should go ahead with the plan of conducting local body elections to usher in the era of local self government. It is only through these elections that the dream of gross root democracy will be realized and local bodies will have a decision making power to govern themselves and have a direct say in the development of their areas. These local bodies have no legislative powers. The poll boycott stance of NC is only a political drama and it will do no good either to NC or to the people of disturbed state of J&K.
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