Post-Article 370 Politics

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A new political party is being established in J&K in near future. And it is being led by the businessman turned politician Altaf Bukhari. The name of the party is being announced very soon. Bukhari has said the Constitution of the party has been handed over for drafting. The party will likely comprise of the leaders drawn from the main regional parties like the National Conference and the PDP. Already around half a dozen leaders from the PDP have joined Bukhari. And recently Congress leader Usman Majeed also joined the Bukhari led group. He has now spoken against Congress and also against the NC and PDP for “misleading” people in the Valley. The latter two he has blamed for “misguiding the people  over self-rule and autonomy”.

There are indications that in the coming days more leaders from the Congress, the PDP and the NC may join the new political formation. The effort seems to be to create an alternative to the NC and the PDP, more so their brand of politics. And this is already apparent in the way the new political formation is shaping up to be.

Considering the major leaders of the NC and the PDP have come to a complete halt there is a space for the Bukhari-led party to grow and ply its alternative politics. Now centre wants a local politics that is unabashedly pro-India. And to this end, it is enlisting leaders who are ready to move on from Article 370. This politics has come to revolve around the demands for statehood for J&K and domicile rights for land and job.

Will Bukhari be able to re-start political activity in the Valley and also forge a credible political identity for himself? The answer remains moot. It will be a challenge for him to make his politics resonate with the people. The general population in Kashmir seems still unwilling let go of the Article 370. Apparently, there’s still  no space for a pro-India politics which doesn’t acknowledge or seeks to address the political conflict in Kashmir.

It doesn’t still mean that Bukhari’s efforts are doomed to fail. They may well come to nought. But  as long as centre protects his politics from any  opposition by keeping the established political leaders under detention, Bukhari is certain to draw a lot of attention if not make himself immediately relevant. This makes the coming weeks and months very interesting in Kashmir. It remains to be seen if Bukhari and his team are able to create a space for an alternative political narrative in Kashmir, a job they have apparently taken upon themselves to accomplish.

 

 

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