While it may be true that the participation of Kashmiri people, both, in terms of the contesting candidates followed by the voters (if any) in the upcoming District Development Council (DDC) elections may help the BJP in covering up or at-least diluting the national and international antagonism that resulted from the August 2019’s unconstitutional changes to the status of Jammu and Kashmir, BJP however seems to have fallen in its own trap after People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) unanimously decided to contest the DDC and urban local bodies (ULB ) elections. Having the history of toppling stable state governments, horse trading etc. in an attempt to feed its power hungry giants, the party considered its 2014’s short-lived collation with PDP as a mere opportunity to spread its roots in J&K. Through this alliance–which many of us saw as the coming together of north and south poles– might have meant a different thing for PDP who, apparently, looked at it in terms of upholding the basic democratic values of India and decided to respect the people’s mandate that BJP received in Jammu region, BJP had only one thing to make from it which was to find out how could they attract like-minded bunch of power hungry opportunists based in J&K and use them as scapegoats for their future aspirations. And that is why we saw some people joining them and selling off their nationalism through the so called ‘Tiranga Rallies’ or in terms of the formation of ‘Apni Party’ in the valley. This newly discovered tribe of nationalists, who instead of purifying their dirty hearts with the sacredness of Gandhi’s nationalism preferred to wear it on their bodies in a typical ‘Modi’ style, was promised moons and stars the same way Modi Ji promised every Indian fifteen lakh rupees, lakhs of jobs, free homes, toilets etc. but brought India on the verge of recession. For these poor opportunists, they forgot to understand that these were merely promises and had nothing to do with the reality.
One extension of ‘Modi’s moon and stars policy’ would be the news about a bunch of politicians of J&K, mostly from Apni, Party who were all set to be appointed as Advisors to LG J&K earlier this year but after some time the news vanished like the dunes of Sahara, reaffirming that they were just ‘talks’. Feeling betrayed and frustrated over the promises made to him and broken with the idea of PAGD’s decision to contest DDC elections, recent comments of Apni Party President Altaf Bukhari in which he said,” How is it possible that those who were boycotting any type of elections till yesterday have decided to fight them now?” or his comments regarding Shaikh Abdullah very clearly reflected the state of shock and aggravation he is finding himself and Apni Party in.
As part of the bigger plan and to further disempower the JK Legislative Assembly, the BJP decided to carve dozens of Mini-Assemblies based in every district of J&K UT through which they can execute their cunning plans and propaganda to smoothen BJP’s run in the J&K. Needless to mention here the intentions behind amending the Panchayat Raj Rules 1996 Act making J&K the only UT in India of this unique kind. Being aware of the disagreement and resistance of almost all main regional political parties of J&K over 370 Abrogation and their decision to not participate in any kind of elections unless J&K is brought back to its pre August 2019 situation, super opportunist BJP took it as an ‘icing on the cake’ situation for them to get hold over all districts of UT J&K and nurture their power thirsty aspirations. However, this time they seem to have failed in it with almost all the regional political parties of J&K sensing the trap and deciding to come together under one umbrella to fight the elections unitedly. I seriously believe the move must have left BJP and its B-Team in J&K in a state of shock and dismay.
While the loss that BJP’s August 2019 amendments to the status of J&K and the consequent amendments to domicile and land laws brought to JK is extremely huge and irreparable and shall be fought for till the very end, one ray of hope and positivity that should fill the Kashmiri folks with optimism is the coming together of all main political parties of J&K in the form of People’s Alliance. To my knowledge, J&K’s history has never witnessed such a unity and togetherness among its mainstream political parties. At-least not in the sense we see it now. What remains yet to be seen is the way in which the people of J&K turn themselves in to register their disagreement or resistance towards BJP’s tricky polity, the astuteness of J&K people in understanding the current political scenario of J&K and their acceptance of the newly formed People’s Alliance. All they can do is to talk through the ballots because boycotts may result in the victory of a new gang of power hungry opportunists who will make it easy for BJP to advance with its illegitimate agenda of hurting the very basic demographic and cultural fabrics of J&K. Hope every Kashmiri voter acts wisely.
Dr Akhter Bhat, PhD in Journalism. Bandipora based Political and Social Activist.