Sooner the better

Let Assembly elections be held. Now

Binoo Joshi
Srinagar, Publish Date: Dec 11 2018 10:46PM | Updated Date: Dec 11 2018 10:46PM
Sooner the betterRepresentational pic

New chorus is that nothing should be done in Jammu and Kashmir till the new elected government is in place.  That is to say that  nothing that impacts State’s special status  or its legal framework or the administrative measures that would  have long-term repercussions should be kept on hold. This  is what  People’s Democratic Party leader and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said in as many words , and, in fact , warmed Governor Satya Pal Malik against   making any changes to the existing constitutional and administrative  structure in the State.  Some of her concerns have been shared by  National  Conference, and to some extent by Congress, too.

 Political parties have an obligation to  talk about the issues that concern the people. It is also their responsibility to put the things in a proper perspective  and make the Governor, especially when he is both head of the State and the Government, during Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir, as to what would be unsettling for the State. This is  the prime duty of the political parties.

One thing that these political parties must understand  that Satya Pal Malik is a politician, and much of his politics is  Uttar-Pradesh oriented. He knows about Jammu and Kashmir only through his interaction with the political leaders  at the national level  who have had some experience of the Kashmir affairs , or from the leaders like late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed , and the living legend  Farooq Abdullah . Or, what he has been briefed by the bureaucrats here and in Delhi .

In the opening days of  his  Gubernatorial  assignment in Jammu and Kashmir, he had told  Indian Express that though he has been given some picture and advice by his  predecessor  N N Vohra the only Governor  who had stayed in the office for the  two consecutive terms  of five years each ,” but I will go by the advice of those who have appointed him.” He did not hide the fact that he would handle the Kashmir affairs the way Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh  wanted him to. There was no ambiguity in this.

It also needs to be recalled that the  Governor who wanted to work for peace for involving the youth  had also made it very clear in plain words that  the “ fresh elections to the Assembly ( that he inherited in a suspended animation ) would be the best  option. And, I would  not allow any combination  of defectors to take over.” But when he dissolved the House on November 21 , there were a host of questions , why he did not dissolve the House immediately after he took over, and if he had to do so what he did  on November 21 when the two rival alliances staked the claim  to form the government , why he didn’t do it earlier . These questions will become the part of the history of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a different matter whether these will be seen as a repeat of what Delhi had been doing in the past or it was a new precedent.

Whatever may be said, the Governor by his November 21, 2018 act has opened the doors for the fresh elections  in the State. The elections will bring in the new government, whether through a majority by one party or combination of the two. The possibilities of National Conference and Congress alliance are doing the rounds, though the NC’s patriarch  Farooq Abdullah has asserted it clearly that his party will go all alone in the elections  and would win a clear majority. That may very well happen , but to calculate the outcome of the Kashmir politics  going by the mood  of the people is a biggest challenge for any political scientist . Lesser mortals can say little about it .

Here it would be wise to ask for the early Assembly elections so that the new  government is in place at the earliest. Even the worst political government is better than the rule of the bureaucrats. That is an old saying and it is true as of today, too.

This would also set at rest all the speculations and rumours that the existing set up is trying to fiddle with the State’s  constitutional system or change the administrative  arrangement  impacting the existing arrangement.

The Governor should  work to hold the elections at the earliest to scotch all the speculations  and live up to his word of having the  popular government in place to take call on Article 35 A, autonomy of J&K Bank and  grant of divisional status to Ladakh. 

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