Srinagar: Narendra Modi’s win didn’t seem as significant to Kashmiris as the drubbing received by the ruling coalition at the hands of opposition Peoples Democratic Party and Bhartiya Janta Party. The landslide victory for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party and Bhartiya Janta Party on all six seats of Jammu and Kashmir has apparently dislodged the model of mainstream politics, which of late has been sounding too much centrist. Even the ruling National Conference was quick to acknowledge that its campaign was wrongly designed around Narendra Modi rather than its core ideology of regional autonomy.
Although Omar Abdullah had made some right noises at the beginning of his eventful tenure, which will expire by the end of this year, he heavily relied on Rahul Gandhi for political succor. “PDP took up concrete issues like Afzal Guru’s hanging and the resolution of Kashmiri dispute. PDP leaders told people they would give them independence to use their resources. But we restricted ourselves to Modi-bashing, ” said a dejected NC cadre.
Significantly, the way separatist actors like Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have downplayed Modi’s ascendance has trashed Omar Abdullah’s deluge-after-Modi theory. Geelani, in a statement said, “wearing the secular mask Congress party for past 67 years has massacred innocent Muslims of India and Jammu and Kashmir and in Indian history about 36 thousand anti-Muslim riots have occurred in Congress rule.” Describing both BJP and Congress as two faces of the same coin, Geelani further said, “The shameful act of Babri Masjid demolition was performed by BJP and Shiv Sena under the patronage of Congress government. Sikhs and Christians were massacred in Congress rule and the Congress ministers adopted Chanakian and Machiavellian politics and captured the state of Jammu and Kashmir by force and military might and brought the whole South Asia on the verge of nuclear war.”
Mirwaiz Umar has also scotched the “warnings” about Modi’s rise. In his response to the BJP’s victory, Mirwaiz said, “The BJP and its allies won the elections in India on the agenda of development and ending poverty.” Mirwaiz said that it was a stark reality that the poverty and poor economy of Indians and millions of people residing in south Asia would not end till Kashmir issue gets resolved according to the wishes and aspirations of people. He said that the Indian defense expenditure has already passed the 48 billion dollar mark and more than 40 percent of the Indian population lives below the poverty line.
Mirwaiz, however, expressed hope that contrary to past, “the new dispensation in Delhi would apprise people in India about the historical issues connected with the Kashmir dispute and would take bold steps to start a meaningful dialogue with Pakistan and Kashmiris to solve the Kashmir dispute for once and all.”
Observers wonder why Omar expected his frenetic tongue-lashing against Modi would fetch him votes in Kashmir. “When Omar Abdullah took oath in 2008 he promised to bring Autonomy Plus for Kashmir. But when it came to campaigning for parliament he laid all the eggs in Rahul’s basket. I fail to understand how would his opposition to Modi matter in the grander fight in India,” one of Omar’s staunchest supporters said, wishing anonymity.
The NC’s old guard too is in a state of shock. Many of NC’s frontline leaders say the young leadership within NC miscalculated Kashmir’s internal dynamic while investing on the external support. “Abdullah family’s longtime belief that stronger rapport with Delhi’s ruling dynasty is enough has been shredded to pieces. I was sad when Farooq Sahab lost when my daughter, an engineering student, came to me and said papa never underestimate the power of a common man. This tells it all,” said a dejected NC sympathizer.
Muhammad Salim Khan, 64, is a childhood fan of NC. “NC’s biggest fault has always been the misunderstanding of ground realities. Omar would be better off with local politics rather than getting drowned in the grand national narrative of India. I suggest, think local act local.”
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.