PDP leader and Member Parliament, Tariq Hameed Karra Friday said the boycott politics has not only disempowered Srinagar politically but it has become a tool for mainstream parties like National Conference (NC) and some opportunistic politicians to manipulate polls in their favor.
Addressing a series of election meetings on the last day of campaigning in Srinagar, Karra said remaining aloof from the democratic processes has not only resulted in massive developmental deficit in this historic city, but has ensured systemic political disempowerment of its inhabitants as well. “But this time around poll boycott is loaded with bigger political danger looming not only over Srinagar but whole of Kashmir as BJP and its proxies are going to use it as a tool for tactical rigging in their favor,” he said and added that ironically if such a scenario emerges after polls, the separatists will be seen as contributors in installing a BJP government in the State.
“I leave it to the conscience of the separatists and wisdom of emancipated voters of Srinagar to see through the designs of New Delhi’s proxies and cronies who tried to use boycott politics as a tool to manipulate the polls in various parts of Kashmir,” Karra said and added that while previously NC and some fringe politicians used to covertly use boycott as a tool to rig the polls, but this time round the NC cadres and supporters of some fringe politicians were caught red-handed pasting boycott posters in Pattan, Langate, Tangmarg, Pulwama, Baramulla and some parts of Srinagar to brow-beat the voters. “It is for the separatists to decide who is benefiting from the boycott politics and why,” he said.
Karra said the people of Srinagar owe it to themselves and to the future generations, not to let their power to determine the State’s destiny, be misused by people inimical to the State’s special status. “It was as a result of low voting percentage in Srinagar in 2008 assembly polls that NC was able to manipulate numbers against the public sentiment,” he said adding; “Let that not happen this time.”
Accusing NC of having exploited the public sentiment throughout its existence and not learnt any lessons from either its own follies or the plight of the State, Karra said it is because of NC’s exploitative politics that the successive generations of our people had to suffer worst kind of disempowerment, deprivation, violence and powerlessness.
He said it was for the people to judge the performance of different parties and leaders. Though PDP had been in the field only for less than a decade, this party, he said has brought changes of fundamental nature into the State’s political and economic system. “Not only did we provide a credible political alternative, but PDP can humbly claim that it has tried its best, and succeeded to a large extent, in providing the best government ever to the people, albeit for a very brief stint between 2002 and 2005,” he said.
Karra said while PDP had, under the visionary leadership of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, laid the foundation for pulling J&K out of the quagmire of political instability and economic deprivation, the clock was, unfortunately, turned back by the NC-Congress coalition government headed by Omar Abdullah. “Killings, arrests, crackdowns, enforced poll boycotts and misgovernance will only take us back to wherefrom we had pulled the State out in 2002,” he said and cautioned of imminent disaster if the cycle of alienation engineered by BJP-NC combine is not addressed immediately.
Expressing dismay over the developmental deficit Srinagar has suffered during the past 6 years, Karra said while PDP led government had initiated some major infrastructural projects for the socio-economic uplift of the City including Rapid Transport System, drainage network, beautification and conservation programme for Dal Lake and other water bodies, upgradation of tourism facilities, establishment of new institutions, creation of employment avenues etc, the same were shelved by the present government. “All major projects and schemes started by the previous coalition government were either shelved or became victim of inefficiency, red tape and corruption,” he said and added that key infrastructural interventions like the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Programme and ADB funded fly-over and drainage projects ran into problems due to the casual approach of the present dispensation. “No wonder the City has turned into a cesspool today amid a gloomy scenario of traffic snarls, water logging, power scarcity, institutional decay, socio-economic distress and rampant unemployment visible all around,” he said.
Karra said ironically the flood victims of Srinagar have got nothing except lip-service from the present regime. “NC is proving to be not only non-serious but the biggest hurdle their relief and rehabilitation process,” he said and added that only a strong and stable government headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed can put a comprehensive relief and rehabilitation mechanism in place for the flood-affected people.