Son in fray to reclaim slain father’s legacy


Bilal Handoo

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Representational Pic.
Representational Pic.

The rumour is running rampant in the poll-bound town on the banks of Veshaw that Omar has fielded a novice (besides a minnow) against the seasoned Marxist leader in the poll turf where he has already clinched his hat-trick. The move is being read to facilitate the smooth sail of MY Tarigami for booking another berth in Legislature.

But detractors are cautioning MY Tarigami: don’t treat NC’s Kulgam face Imran Nabi Dar as underdog while anticipating your “assured” fourth consecutive assembly term. “Even,” they caution him, “invincible giants taste dust in the poll battlefield.”

The Veshaw which went berserk on September – deluding many parts of Kulgam, is apparently roaring once again in this election season. The mood on the ground is mixed. There are young who hands down want to weed out “deadwood” from the seat. On the other side there are old but loyal foot soldiers of the incumbent legislator who believes “status quo” is on cards. Between the perceptive generational gap, the town is all set to poll on December 2 for the second phase in 87 assembly seats of the state.

Imran Nabi Dar
Imran Nabi Dar

But before the fag end dawned over the poll campaigns in this part of south Kashmir, NC’s Imran was addressing his political rallies vowing to resurrect his father’s legacy on the seat. Before losing his father to blast in 2006, Ghulam Nabi Dar (his father) was NC’s MLA from Kulgam in 1977 and 1983 before losing it to MUF’s Haji Abdul Razak Mir in 1987 elections.

“After my father’s killing, I made up my mind that I will shoulder his legacy sooner or later,” says a sober but suave Imran while touring his constituency. As he waves his hands to youth on streets, he blurts out: “My priority is to channelize the talent of youth in the right direction.”

When cameras were mainly zooming, tilting and focusing in on Tarigami for being at the centre stage of Kulgam, Imran having Masters in media kept working to “connect with youth”—sans calling the attention of fourth estate. “You see,” he says, “when you are from socialist party (an apparent reference to Tarigami), you shouldn’t stick to capitalistic approach.” Besides, he continues, the state Marxist leader “failed” to strike a bond with youth “which I am sure will eventually doom his poll prospects this winter”.

Even in 2008, Tarigami had a narrow escape after migrant votes came to his rescue at an eleventh hour and eventually thwarted his staring defeat against PDP’s Nazir Ahmad Laway. He won by 236 vote margin. (Tarigami polled 17175 against Laway’s 16939 votes; while NC’s Safdar Ali Khan stood third in 2008 by polling 5792 votes.)

“But six years is enough time to turn the tables around,” says Imran. “This time around the total 2900 migrant votes of Kulgam are likely to favour BJP’s Lotus than Traigami’s Hammer and Sickle.”

But the candidature of the lecturer-turned-politician ran in rough weather with many saying that NC picked Imran from the Laway’s stronghold with a motive “to flip the change”.

The development came after Tarigami and “third front” didn’t field any candidate in Omar Abdullah’s new poll ground Beerwah. In response, many say Omar fielded Imran hailing from PDP’s bastion where the party candidate Laway managed 70 per cent plus polls in 2008.

“But how is this possible when my candidature from Kulgam was announced much earlier than Omar’s Beerwah candidature,” asks Imran, a part of Omar’s young team. “I am not contesting polls to damp PDP wave rather to reclaim my father’s legacy.” (On Nov 25, Omar himself visited and addressed a public rally at Kulgam and sought votes for Imran.)

On the other side of the poll plank, Tarigami is a confident man in the town presently anticipating his victory by playing “development” card in once stronghold of anti-India armed insurgency belt. Equally confident is PDP’s Laway for his “grassroot” touch.

But come mid-December, and it will almost certain whether or not Kulgam was only between CPI (M)’s Tarigami and PDP’s Laway, as is being projected by counting out NC. But among the eight candidates, Imran might emerge another giant killer. Maybe old equations would be redefined. Or, perhaps status quo would be maintained.

Just like valley’s weather, fingers behind votes are known for their uncertainty. The same fingers polled out giants like Dr Farooq and Ghulam Nabi Azad in summer polls. And if memories have escaped unhurt from amnesia since 2008, then the same fingers send an unconventional man from Langate to Legislature.

Who knows, maybe, another surprise might spring up from south.


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