Stop Sycophancy

As J&K is heading towards the next assembly elections later this year, interesting developments are bound to happen. Some are already making rounds in the political circles.

Take for instance, the leadership of the two principal parties – NC and PDP. Sycophants have risen in both the parties and both are desperate to secure their space.

NC that was trounced in the Lok Sabha polls is still undergoing introspection. While it has started using the lever of governance as part of its damage control, the vested interests have triggered a new battle: why not Abdullah senior take over the party and be the next chief ministerial candidate? It has already led the party to wash its dirty linen in public with accusations flowing between the generational gap!

In PDP the situation is slightly different. A group is making a loud think that the party that has improved its tally and influence on ground zero should project party president Ms Mehbooba Mufti as the new chief ministerial candidate, which even she is not personally interested, going by her campaigning and the contents of her speeches.

Political parties in J&K have lost their relevance and connection with the people because of the coteries and the gatekeepers they chose. They always invent an axe to grind and they will continue to do so. NC is emerging perhaps the worst instance on this front because it is older with a lot of historic baggage that has seemingly impacted its growth and compromised its appeal.

Its rival PDP is much younger with fresh ideation and perhaps newer faces. But decay is part of the continuity.

Political parties in J&K must emerge as all-inclusive groups where all ages, ethnicities, faiths and cultures can have their dignified as respectful spaces. They must have freedom of speech, transparency in decision making and right to dissent on issues within. Otherwise they will end up political marshes where people will feel trapped. The idea of forcing a decision should be done away with. It has had consequences in past and will have repercussions in future.

Parties must resist devouring of democracies within. They must fight for the free speech within their parties and also for transparent decision-making. They should stay open to ideas but not flow with them without dissecting them and see the larger interests of the society they claim to represent.

Right now both the parties should enjoy their right to go with their leaders to the next assembly polls. Dr Farooq Abdullah has played his long inning and must stay as a guide to his son Omar Abdullah who is openly admitting his mistakes and is keen to learn. In PDP Mufti Sayeed should play the main lead so that the Mufti Jr learns the art of governance. Ms Mufti has been a fiery orator and an opposition leader. She would require time to groom up to understand the nuances of governing a state.

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