It is Red Hot

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As controversies trigger a lot of heat and dust, the unionist political camp is suddenly hyperactive. While Chief Minister makes his problematic “relative” to eat his words, almost every third Panch and Sarpanch is dreaming to be in the Legislative Council that is filling its four berths next month. Interestingly, the Council boss is in a sort of crisis. Courtesy; a probe that he instituted and withdrew, R S Gull reports.

NC ‘leaders’, who do not matter much these days, admit that Dr Mustafa Kamal is historically right but not politically. A politician, they say, has to be politically correct and leave past to academicians and historians. But that is something Sheikh’s elder son is unable to help understand the younger one. And in this crippling communication failure, it is the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, who faces problems.

Ever since the ruling coalition was cobbled together in a hurry in the last week of 2008, Dr Kamal has always remained a preloaded anti-Congress chip that would always fetch the best space on newspaper front-pages. In the midst of these statements, when NC appointed him as the party spokesman and additional secretary general in the wake of Shikeh Nazir’s protracted health problems, it seems as if Kamal was being rewarded for what he believed in. But that proved short-lived. As the Congress reacted to the diatribe, Kamal was sacked.

The party managed the Congress criticism and Kamal’s status was partially restored. Taking him back at some party position was the only option left for father-son to somehow keep the party in the safe family hands. He was made additional secretary general. But that could not bring about any change in the lawmaker who represents Hazratbal in the state legislature and feels disempowered for his absence from the cabinet his nephew heads.

Last week, Kamal was in Kishtwar. He said India was an enemy of J&K if it is not signing a no-war treaty with Pakistan. “We do not know (what) the exact reasons (for) why India was not signing a no-war treaty (with Pakistan),” Dr Kamal was quoted saying. “If India will continue to raise this issue, then I have no hesitation in saying that Pakistan is not our enemy. Our enemy is our own country.” Apparently frustrated over no-movement, Kamal said the entire world was seeking resolution of Kashmir issue. “We have opened our border to carry out trade activity with Pakistan. We could have introduced some more relaxations,” he said. Reports also quoted him saying that presence of army in J&K is the “biggest stumbling block” and certain laws in vogue are a source of suffering for the civil population.

Adding spice to the political grapevine, Dr Kamal regretted that voters did not offer a clear verdict and a split verdict forced a coalition on the state. “We thought it is appropriate to form the coalition government with Congress,” he said. Reason: “Omar (Abdullah) Sahab had said – ‘Azad is ‘sweet poison’ and Mufti is ‘bitter poison’. So NC opted for ‘sweet’ over ‘bitter’. Instead of offering a clear mandate, Kamal said the voters “forced these two enemies to chase us” and “we jumped in and formed the coalition to keep them at bay.” Had PDP and Congress joined hands to form the government, Kamal argued, “They would have created havoc for us.”

Hell broke loose this time again. Terming the statement ‘irresponsible’, Dr Farooq Abdullah said, “His (Kamal’s) statement is irresponsible. Delhi has never been the enemy of Kashmiris.” His son, Omar, took to Twitter after a long time. “Funny thing is I don’t need anyone to make things difficult for me when I have relatives to do it for me,” he wrote in one tweet. “They say never work with animals and children. I think it’s safe to add relatives to that list as well,” he added in another. Finally came the intervention from the Azad. “We have taken a strong exception to Mustafa Kamal’s remarks. This is (a) serious issue. This not the first time that this gentleman has been giving statements like this,” Azad said during his recent Jammu visit. “It is high time that NC clears its stand on which side of the page they are on. Individual statements can be tolerated but no Indian can tolerate anti-Indian statements. We cannot tolerate it.”

As the ‘sweet poison’ turned sour, there was no option left other than an unqualified surrender. “I am pained and deeply hurt by a section of media. I was projected as an anti-national and accused of sedition and it deeply hurt me,” Kamal told reporters. “My family’s legacy and political career of several decades was testimony of my —

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