On turncoats

They have made politics a dubious affair…

Srinagar and Anantnag by-elections have again set the election ball rolling in a big way. Many political pundits considered this election a referendum for PDP, BJP coalition, a coalition that raised many eyebrows from the day one. And for National Conference (NC), Congress alliance it is a tough struggle for existence. This election beyond effective alliances and party performance is more important for Farooq Abdullah and Tassaduq Mufti. Farooq Abdullah with the huge political legacy of his late father Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and his personal investment in Kashmir politics has a lot at stake that too in the backdrop of his earlier debacle in last parliamentary elections at the hands of Tariq Hamid Qarra his onetime bitter rival, now a very close supporter. Whereas for Tassaduq Mufti scion of Mufti family this maiden election will decide his political future.Like many other elections, the current election also provided a better opportunity for turncoats and they are enjoying the field day. Tariq Qarra was the first to defect from his once chosen political refuge—PDP in the garb of waging war against communal forces. His political ambitions were always beyond his political worth and his political plans confusing from the day Mufti Mohammad Sayeed started his second innings as Chief Minister. Hobnobbing with almost every political outfit in the state for more than a year, at the end he landed in the political wreckage of Congress with an eye on the anticipative hopeful outcome of next state elections in favor of NC, Congress alliance. There were several other turncoats who shifted their loyalties in the hope of a good political harvest, but change in heart of Nazir Ahmad Khan of Beerwa from Congress party into PDP and lately that of Dr.Sameer Koul once prominent voice of PDP into the lap of Farooq Abdullah’s NC is conspicuous shifting of disgruntled elements in political configuration of Kashmir politics.

Kashmiri people who have been suffering the outcome of an egoistic partition that swallowed millions in 1947 are in the middle of a political uncertainty and a bleak future. Under such gloomy situation, for most of the Kashmiris anyone who comes with a political balm (even if it is fake) they have no other option but to trust and try him. Sheikh Abdullah’s absolute call for independence from autocracy in thirties, Naya Kashmir proposal in forties, and later his rai shumari (plebiscite) slogan in fifties after losing power in one of the worst undemocratic deposition in 1953, arouse a lot of hope and made people to trust Sheikh Abdullah every time in a hope to have better future. But all this crashed and proved a sand dune of hope and desperation when Sheikh Abdullah in 1975 declared his political absence as siyasi awargardi (Political waywardness) and joined hands with his once arch-rival the Congress party of Indira Gandhi. Later NC’s occasional drum beating of autonomy when much of Kashmir’s constitutional authority already stood eroded and catchy self-rule propaganda of PDP also created some excitement within Kashmir and Kashmiri people definitely gave it a try. Now, after BJP, PDP alliance and recent political developments and impressive electoral advances of BJP in national politics the political discourse at Kashmir political scene have completely changed. Contrary to earlier strategy of highlighting administrative and political failures of its opponents Congress, NC and others are concertedly trying to divert the attention of Kashmir people towards the invasion of communal forces into valley’s political turf. NC, congress alliance is wooing people to support them to keep the BJP away from the borders of Kashmir ignoring the fact that NC once itself was a political ally of BJP and NC’s prominent face Omar Abdullah was a minister in BJP led NDA (National Democratic Alliance).

Frankly and factually speaking, no political party or politician in Kashmir is a holy cow and over the period of time, they have only safeguarded and groomed their political constituencies and interests at the cost of Kashmiri people. If PDP and its partners are carrying the scars of 2016 violence on their face so are the 2010 blood stains quite visible on the sleeves of NC and its associates. Unfortunately, political turncoats have added fuel to murky politics of Kashmir and changed it for the worst. The only agenda of most of the politicians is to remain relevant and be very close to power at any cost.