Wg Cdr Mahesh Chander Sudan (Retd)
We, the people of Jammu and Kashmir, have recently encountered a political narrative raised by some local politicians probably to match a declaration made by a group of valley based political entities largely to hold their political ground post abrogation of Article 370 and reorganization of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. Most of these local leaders were Jammu based and part of political entities headed by leaders of the valley who have held power for most of the times. Sudden awakening of these leaders in the form of Jammu Narrative sends different massages especially when they remained at the centre stage during those power sharing days. It is quite surprising to note that these leaders could be overpowered by their inner self to embrace public service for rechanneling their political career either by twisting hierarchy or opting out to join any other remunerative position outside the party at the altar of public welfare. It amounts to the fact that commoners are taken for granted to bear with the trick played on them in form of Jammu Declaration as these powerful leaders can manage the mandate at any cost.
It has also been noted that local leadership of small political outfits have also endeavoured to turn the wave in their favour with personal visits to these prominent leaders who championed propagation of Jammu narrative in disguise to create mystified political environment to grind their own axe. Inert political groups from the region tried to strengthen themselves as forerunners in the race to hold the flag of Jammu people high by mustering support of these champions, more specifically visits of former Minister Lal Singh hold prominence. Initially, people believed that a joint front created by these leaders may raise challenge for Kashmir based politicians to shed alleged discrimination what so ever it might be, however climax in the story appeared when the dominant group of these self-declared leaders joined BJP and allowed their Jammu sentiment to melt away for bargain. It infers that the narrative has intently been created and propagated to dislodge the age old trust and brotherhood of the people across the regions for selfish motive but probably in vain. Let us accept their move for a while to weigh the pros and cons of it, at the outset it lacked objectivity and purpose owing to the fact that it lived for short time, caused primarily to reorient their own politics unless they would have remained united and formed an umbrella group for working toward power sharing without any regional discrimination for the larger wellbeing of the people of Jammu Province. The people of Jammu region have a pointed question to these leaders as to what made them to accept discriminated power sharing for so long and at whose cost as most of them enjoyed legislative tenures mandated to them but no such word of discrimination was heard in any formal platform. Tolerating injustice is as good as doing injustice to any one, hence they are supposed to face this probable question in the times to come and history spares none.
Inter alia, it emerges that alleged discriminatory power sharing as crafted in the form of Jammu Narrative might have apparently helped these leaders for short term but the dent caused on the regional brotherhood will take time to rebuild. It is also a fact that this has been crafted well designed not merely by these leaders but probably by the ultimate beneficiary that could add to its numerical strength. The benefiting political party is in the process of renovating its cadre to mitigate the public annoyance earned by her leaders who were blessed with unprecedented mandate of 25 seats and failed to utilize it on expected lines. At the same time party needs to bid for new faces before it presents its candidates to public for next legislative elections of the present Union Territory in place of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, a gift unacceptable to people probably resulted out of weak leadership of coalition government of PDP and BJP. It is an unimaginable mandate given to any one political entity across the three regions.
To be more specific, this short lived well-orchestrated Jammu Narrative might have helped them in choosing new political path but it did shatter political spectrum of the Union Territory especially at this juncture when things are yet to settle post reorganization of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories. It has also added two new players on the political platform that provides added variety of political ideologies. Newly formed Apni Party and Aam Admi Party could successfully occupy the vacuum by assessing the ground reality and becoming dependable options for mandate in the forthcoming legislative elections. It hardly needs any mention that experience of 2014 legislative elections and subsequent formation of PDP+BJP government for unsuccessful term till November 2018 is still fresh in the mind of voters not only for failure to govern but for all the recent structural changes carried out by union government and inability to use mandate for furtherance of state welfare. Addition of new players and their elevation to Executive Committee by President JK BJP over riding seniority of old cadre may not send healthy signals and would discourage ground level workers.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir have been passing through uncertain political environment for quite some time and are awaiting electoral process to start so that they could once again exercise their franchise and form popular government. None of these declarations will defeat their spirit of brotherhood across the regions and would actively participate in the forthcoming electoral process not only to elect their representatives to form popular government capable of fighting for early restoration of statehood. Let us hope that good sense would prevail and guide poor people of Jammu and Kashmir to read between the lines to understand the intent of Jammu based politicians who raised Jammu Declaration in disguise to channelize their political career afresh.
Jai Hind, Jai Bharat.
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Wg Cdr Mahesh Chander Sudan (Retd)