Ahead of assembly elections in the state that are likely to be held in November-December next, the ruling BJP has launched a vigorous campaign aimed to seek power. Upbeat, it is hoping to cobble a majority or emerge, at least, the single largest group to stake a claim.
This time it is determined to spring surprises and outsmart its rivals off the electoral turf. ‘Dilli huyi hamari, ab Kashmir ki bari’ election slogan shows the level of excitement. They are oiling their whiskers, massaging muscles and sharpening the strategic tools. Having exhumed their winnable avenues that catapulted them to power in Delhi recently, they are swaggering on high horses towards Kashmir.
Although Kashmir is not UP or Gujarat that can prop BJP to ‘56 inch’ pride ownership, nonetheless, given the situation Kashmir is squeezed in and the drunk deep hostility the two main regional parties are relishing in, plus the election boycott element of favorability, Sang parivar is elated. To dug its fortunes out from a hard terrain. It is doped to, at least, slice six assembly seats from Kashmir to accomplish its mission.
In Jammu the Congress is not recovering from the shock therapy BJP administered her in the last parliamentary elections. Demoralized and completely disoriented, the Congress (which basically has a support base in Jammu urban) is catching at straws. Its leader Sham Lal Sharma’s latest declaration that there should be a Hindu chief minister from Jammu reflects as much hollowness of Congress leaders’ faith on secular values as their growing restlessness to be seen equivalent to BJP on religion masculinity. It has perhaps dawned on them that puffing up that type of chest can invigorate her to new challenges. It is, however, beyond comprehension why those nourishing from the Hindutva udder of BJP should switch their loyalty and sit in the lap of Congress they think is vacillating.
The saffron fever Jammu is drenched in leaves little for the Congress to harvest from the hustling. It is dispirited to the marrow and too weak to defend its enclaves against Saffron Brigade onslaught.
The Chenab valley with six assembly seats and Pirpanchal region with seven seats are Muslim majority areas. In the last assembly election BJP failed to get any seat from there. This time too though dice are not loaded in her favour, the division of votes between Congress, PDP, and NC may help BJP to nibble its share.
In the valley the BJP remains pariah as it has been since its inception. This time it aims to invade through election boycott route and grab some six odd seats. Banking on ‘migrant’ Pandith votes from constituencies of Amira kadaL, Hab Kaadal, Tral, Islamabad, Bijbehara and Sopore , it wants to derive maximum electoral mileage of the boycott. To achieve that goal it ahs started a massive enrollment campaign of Pandit community and is primarily focused on their participation in upcoming elections.
In Buddhist Leh District it has a “natural ally” which can directly or indirectly bless it in having two more seats. Kargil, a Muslim district, though looks to Kashmir always has its own priorities but would not tag with BJP.
The numbers despite Amit Shah’s bravura skills can’t put BJP to power on her own. It will inevitably have to seek courtship with either of the two regional parties, NC and PDP. In this ‘marriage of convenience’ BJP’s dominance is foretold. As witnessed in alliance with Congress, PDP and NC feel more comfortable in behaving more loyal than the king instead of articulating the sentiments of people in Kashmir.
In whatever manner post –election political alignments are shaped, people of Kashmir have reason to find themselves on the receiving end caught in the crosshairs. A growing sense of siege is pervading in Kashmir today. Despite being in majority, a minority syndrome is deepening their mistrust. Efforts to dilute Kashmir’s Muslim character has unnerved them. Some of the ‘nationalist leaders’ have publicly advertised their intentions fort altering Kashmir’s demography to resolve Kashmir dispute.
We cannot afford complacency and wait for the situation change on its own. It is time to revisit our strategy (if any) and re-edit our responses to the challenges on merit and wisdom. We have since long exposed our Achilles’ heal from where we are being speared at. Our pathological disdain for any innovative approach is piling up our miseries and incapacitating our resolve to change the status-qu