Lords, Elders or Political Class Four

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of Lords in the past.He only used the nominations to add another dimension to politics in the state and in the process exposed Sher-e-Kashmir’s party to credible criticism for lack of confidence in its bastion, if not outright political corruption.The nomination of Ghulam Qadir Pardesi a retired bureaucrat in his 70s to the upper House of state legislature became news of the week for obvious reasons of its timing and method. Otherwise how many of us are aware of the great names that occupy space in this hall of fame? Pardesi’s coup did not hit his previous party, the PDP alone; it cost his peer and former chief secretary Sheikh Ghulam Rasool a place in Legislative Council and a possible last chance to make it to the state cabinet.
Not the least important, however, was the way it happened. The state government had reportedly sent a recommendation to the governor about eight nominations to the Upper House. Among them was Sheikh Ghulam Rasool, who joined National Conference way back in 1996 after his rather unceremonious exit from highest civil service position by the governor’s administration a year earlier. The day when Pardesi came back to his ‘des’, NC, the recommendation was called back from the Raj Bhavan for the cut and paste exercise. This story has not been denied so far either by the Raj Bhavan or government.
Electoral history in the state is too well known to need a recount. It is, however, a new addition to the tradition that Raj Bhavan too was unfortunately exposed to allegations of fraud at a time when it is occupied by one of the finest gentlemen in business. Another new, and low, was the fact that a candidate of rival party was actually bribed out of competition not with party money but a position that is funded by state exchequer.
As to the debate on the quality of candidates that should adorn the Council seats designated for intellectuals, social workers and other professionals, less said is better. It has had to witness the paradoxical coexistence of Javed Shah, one of the most fearsome faces of Ikhwan culture, with Dr. Naseer Ahmed Shah, Professor MR Puri and Yousuf Teng in the same chamber.
While Dr. Farooq Abdullah credited himself by creating a balance of plus
 and minus, his ‘action oriented’ chief minister son did even better by seeking to win Sonwar Assembly seat through the council nomination itself. Ingenious indeed! A junior who was known only for his contribution to the dirty tricks of electoral history in Kashmir has left the hard-boiled bureaucrat, Sheikh Saheb, whose fans spun a mythological web of special competencies around him, to lick his wounds. Now, of course Pardesi did it for himself. Whether the traditional beneficiary of his electoral craft, NC, is actually through in Sonwar remains to be seen. But in the process some bureaucratic medicine was administered to its original practitioner.
One of my friends got his mandate for the legislative council a few years back with the plea to his party boss: Sir, MLC is the class four category of politics. “Am I not qualified even for that?” was his simple argument that won him the job. It simply has been turned into that. Otherwise with the only Gyanpeeth awardee, Rehman Rahi among us could the seat that the constitution designated for such giants have gone to my friend Pardesi?  
Well the norm less class four-recruitment culture is making its way up. Civil Servants who brought that about in league with politicians are naturally reaping the benefits.

The writer can be reached at akhtarandrabi@yahoo.com

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About Author

A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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