Numbers Matter


With first two phases of state assembly elections passing peacefully with record turnout of voters in Kashmir the sound of bullets are back. In the run up to the third phase, which is due to be held on 9th December, 2014 in some key constituencies, a number of suspected militant attacks across Kashmir dampened the otherwise euphoric election mood.

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With 21 casualties in a span of just 12 hours since Thursday morning, Kashmir is once again making news for reason other than people’s participation in democracy. But is there more to attacks than meets the eye? Has the over enthusiasm ruined the broth before it could have been actually served? The answer lies in a series of statements that jubilantly hailed elections in an overwhelming situation that Kashmir is in since last two and a half decades.

On December 3, Union Finance Ministers Arun Jaitley during his one day visit to Kashmir termed recent record turnout of voters in first two phases of five phased state assembly elections as “a message for the outside world”.  He conveniently modified Vajpayee’s catch line: insaniyat ke dayire mai viz-a-viz dealing with Kashmir by saying that “it does not mean not responding to terror or breaking up the nation.”

Jaitley enthusiasm in hailing the record number of votes cast in the first two phases of ongoing elections in Jammu and Kashmir, once again shows BJP’s eagerness to project elections as a vote for India well before the process is actually over.

For those who understand Kashmir in all its fragility, would be biting their nails over Jaitley’s remarks, as such statements not only prove detrimental to peace but also have rebounding effects on ground as well.

During his hour long interactions with a select group of audience and media Jaitley did not lose any time in claiming a win over separatists who have been put behind bars for campaigning against elections. He was quick to say that 72 per cent of voting shows that, “Kashmiris are fed up of separatist activities. We welcome people who want to leave the way of separatism.”

Riding on its success in recent Lok Sabah elections in mainland India, BJP’s is leaving no stone unturned to emulate the module in Kashmir. But while trying to emulate that success and push its Mission 44 + plan BJP is going overboard at the cost of Kashmir’s fragile peace.

But for a party that has been advocating the scraping of article 370 for complete integration of Kashmir with India long before assuming power in New Delhi, elections in trouble torn valley are but an opportunity that BJP is ready to avail at any cost.

No matter how many lives are lost in the process. All that matters is numbers that can be twisted and turned at will, unlike living creatures who know how to dissent.


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