Populism: Kashmir vs Tamil Nadu


Elsewhere in the country populist politics translates into plentiful freebies for the people. In Tamil Nadu these have ranged from mixer grinders to gold coins. In the last assembly election there while AIADMK was promising voters free electricity and goats, DMK was luring them with free smartphones and 3G/4G services. But the two main political parties in Kashmir don’t practice the same populism.

As annus horribilis 2016 nears its end, opposition NC could have been pushing ruling PDP to pick up the slack on governance, return education and the economy to normalcy, rebuild tourism, provide holistic support to all those with pellet injuries and even those still not properly rehabilitated from the flood of two winters ago …

They have gone down a very different road instead. Farooq Abdullah has decided to bat for Hurriyat. In doing this he drew the wrath of Mehbooba Mufti for encouraging the criminal element, playing with the lives of women and children, for power. Yet it seems like she felt the need to somehow outdo his pro-militancy line, not an insignificant challenge given that she is not in the opposition. Her administration has risen to this challenge and come up with a competing gambit: Rs 4 lakh compensation and a government job for the family of Burhan Wani.

This compensation is actually for Burhan Wani’s elder brother Khalid Wani, who was killed by the security forces. Soon after it was announced Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Since the govt has cleared Burhan’s brother as innocent will there be an inquiry in to how the army killed an innocent person in 2015?” But while ally BJP was muddling a response and government spokespersons were saying that the compensation has been recommended at the DM level Mehbooba refused to hide behind that defense and declared: “We have to make a difference between a militant and his family, both can’t be seen with one view.”

The phrase that comes to mind is, running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. It’s a necessary job skill in the mainstream politics of Kashmir.


 Renuka Bisht in TImes Of India





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