Election Breezes


Shah Abbas

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Shah-AbbasWhat makes majority of the masses in Kashmir to think about elections exhibit their psyche and shows that they are extraordinarily interested in any kind of activity affecting politics and even governance.

People seem overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the coming Lok Sabha and assembly election results in a situation where every unionist party claims to get to the throne by the vote and support of the people.

Politically, mature to a large extent now, Kashmiris, often talk against the unionist parties and leaders but they at the same time have to make choice amongst the same politicians. So it becomes an interesting affair as to whom these visibly “anti-unionist” people will prefer to choose to govern themselves?

The choice is limited before them. They have National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the only two local parties who have been selling “Autonomy” and “Self rule” since long. Congress on the other hand has a “limitation” at least in Kashmir of being a National Party of India, so it has no liberty to choose anti-New Delhi slogans as NC and PDP have been doing during the election times. NC and PDP this time are aware of the fact that “Autonomy” and “Self rule” slogans have lost their end product, especially the former correctly knows that more than five decades are enough for any jingle to get outdated among the people.

Separatists on the other hand are divided in “boycott” and “non-issue” policies. The supporters of boycott are sure to be jailed or detained in their houses when elections are around keeping in view the past experience. Experience also says that boycott policy is not going to be so effective because in a society like Kashmir, people act at the eleventh hour exhibiting their psyche and they even go for casting votes in favor of their political opponents.

To a number of political commentators, the parliament election battle in Kashmir valley is going to be interesting and definitely will influence the Assembly elections scheduled months after the Lok Sabha elections.

People-Outside-Polling-BoothValley Kashmir comprises of three Parliament constituencies, Central, North and South Kashmir.

The central Kashmir comprises of district Srinagar as well, which is dominated by NC, if representation in the state assembly is any criteria. In fact Srinagar has eight Assembly constituencies and all of them are with the party. But to many analysts the ruling party will face a tough competition in the central Kashmir seat of Lok Sabha this time putting NC policy makers in a situation where they are even thinking to change their party President as a candidate. If Dr Farooq losses, that must be an intolerable jolt for it and prior to the Assembly elections, the Party can’t afford such a jolt which has every capacity to bury it in for at least coming six years.

The party is already facing tough times in Jammu region that is why it is eagerly looking for a pre-poll alliance with its coalition partner who also needs numbers to counter Modi effect at the national level.

Coming back to the peculiar psyche of Kashmiri people, making any predictions about it is not so easy. The game can be changed in anybody’s favor by the people who have been referred to as “Charab Dast” (skill handed) and “Tar Dimaag”(moist minded) by Allama Iqbal (RA).

But the larger question still remains unanswered. Who will barter for whom in the coming couple of months? NC relies on new administrative units, created very recently, PDP weeps for the “failures” of the Omar regime and Congress has visibly nothing in its kitty, especially for Kashmiri voters.

The contest in central Kashmir seat has become more interesting as the newly emerged Arvind Kajriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also made entry into Jammu and Kashmir taking “good governance” route. It has in fact nominated its candidate also for the central Kashmir constituency. But it can’t make any surprise in Kashmir as it did in Delhi, yes it can only make the election breezes blow a bit higher.



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