Shah Faesal to contest elections

Shah Faesal to contest elections

‘Will choose political party after consultations; Politics in J&K needs to be reimagined; Anger among people as politicians are asked to deal with municipal problems and military deals with political problems’

Announcing his decision to contest the upcoming Parliament elections, former IAS Dr Shah Faesal Friday said he was not joining any political party soon but would decide after consultations.

Addressing a press conference here, Faesal, who recently resigned from the Indian Administrative Service, said he would be very happy to contest the Parliament elections in April-May. “I believe Parliament is a very important space and we need well-meaning and well-read people there,” he said.

On being asked whether National Conference has approached him to fight Lok Sabha elections from Baramulla- Kupwara constituency, he said, “Omar Sahab has been very gracious in supporting me all these years, he is a leader. They have never approached me for joining politics but it is me who has gone to Omar Sahab for suggestion and consultation. It will be very unfair to say they offered me a seat and I rejected.”

“As of now, I don’t have any plans to join any existing mainstream party. I plan to go to field and listen to youngsters and other important stakeholders and then take a decision.”

He ruled out the options of floating a new political party or joining the separatist camp, even as he maintained that his ‘representation of the sentiment’ will be as per narrative of the people.

Making it clear that he has no plans to join the separatist camp, Faesal said, “I am from the system and my specialisation is in governance. So I will be happy to do something in an institution where I will use my skills. Hurriyat doesn’t give me that kind of opportunity because they don’t believe in electoral politics.”

On floating a new political party, he said, “I don’t want to go immediately and launch anything, it will not be doing anything but dividing votes. It is very sensitive situation we are in. I am not here as an alternative but see me as an addition,” he said.

Faesal had resigned from the prestigious IAS to “protest against the unabated civilian killings and marginalization of Indian Muslims.”

He said his resignation was a “small act of defiance to remind the central government of its responsibilities towards people of J&K.”

“I am resigning in protest against the lack of political initiative, lack of any credible political initiative by the government and denial of justice to the people of Kashmir,” he said.

He said there have been continuous attacks on special status of J&K and Articles 370 and 35A have been constantly invoked for electoral gains in rest of India.

Faesal said his “resignation has nothing to do with the services but has everything to do with factors external to the service and environment in which I have been working.” 

“I am obviously a proud ex-member of the service. In the last few years there have been circumstances within the state and rest of the country which have made me realise that there is time to speak up,” he said, adding that the rise of lynch mob nationalism has led to extreme marginalization of ideological and religious minorities in the country.

Faesal said undermining of important institutions like CBI, NIA and RBI have the potential of hurting constitutional edifice of the country.

“These provocations were something which I couldn’t have ignored.”

Calling for re-imaging mainstream politics in Kashmir, he said youth have lost interest in this brand of politics due to the way it has been conducted in the past 70 years.

“There is a lot of anger at the way the mainstream has been conducting itself for last 70 years,” he said.

Faesal said the problem with the state is that “politicians have been asked to deal with municipal problems and military has been asked deal with political problems.”

“When I will tomorrow join politics you will see that my vocabulary and my representation of the sentiment will be as per the narrative of the people.”

The IAS topper of 2009 batch said words like Azaadi, right to self-determination and plebiscite should not be seen as taboo in the mainstream politics.

"We have this political discourse and there are certain taboo words … we should not talk about Azaadi, we should not talk about plebiscite… all these, which are not actually taboo words. Let the mainstream politics actually open its eyes to that vocabulary and re-imagine," he said.