There always is a point of view in critical situations – there are many voices rising simultaneously in unison asking for the restoration of the statehood to Jammu and Kashmir. But what next. Haven’t we been the residents of a majestic state of J&K? Yes, we were. What did we do with the state, this is the question that all these political parties must answer?
It is quite easy for National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah to say that he would not contest elections in the UT. He was perhaps speaking for many others who would not take part in the elections until or unless the status of the UT of today is converted into a state tomorrow, the day after or any other day. There is a growing demand that the statehood should be restored so that the people feel that they have regained something out of lot many things that they have lost in the months preceding the first anniversary of the scraping of Article 370 that is just few days from now.
That J&K should again be a state, and there should be elections. All this sounds pretty good and pleasant to ears, as the people are really feeling bad that they lost the statehood for nothing. Although there was a perennial demand by Ladakh Buddhists for a separate UT for them, there was no such demand from anyone in J&K. It may be argued that Jammu was wanting a separate state for itself within its geographical boundaries as defined on the political map of J&K. There is a greater truth in the fact that all the people in Ladakh or Jammu were not in favour of their geographical or political separation within J&K, but the biggest thing to understand is, why a vocal section in both the regions were demanding their separation in the manner they did. They were not doing it just for the heck of it. They, too, had their arguments and logic, though sometimes exaggerated with the high-voltage rhetoric.
In spite of this, whatever NC President Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and Apni Party President, Altaf Bukhari and many others are saying – some of these voices are from Jammu, and Ladakh too, the idea of restoration of the statehood sounds very good to ears. But may it be asked, what difference it will make once the statehood is restored to the brand of politics that has played out in J&K so far. There were regional, sub regional, ethnic, and linguistic fault lines in the brad of politics that was practiced in the past.
The UT should go. Statehood should be restored. But the main point is that should the state be restored as an administrative action in the same fashion in which J&K was divided into two union territories of J&K, and Ladakh, or, there should be some responsibility as well for al those demanding the statehood. If they think that their only responsibility is to contest elections and deliver nothing in return and start a narrative of negativity when confronted with self-created disasters, they should think what are they going to do after the elections and the formation of the government.
Indeed, there is a sound logic that the political governments have better connect with the people. There cannot be a better truism than this. But, when the politics is driven by the sole aim of winning elections and creating space for the self, then such political governments can be disastrous as well.
The point is simple: the politicians will have to be responsible whether they are in the government or not. That responsibility is judged by the accountability. The accountability is the real yardstick of democracy, elections are just a way of climbing this ladder. The government for government’s sake and elections for the sake of elections do not lay out a way forward.
Lessons in life are important. That enhance the stature of the people who want to lead. But they must present a roadmap first. If that is not there, then there is nothing to look forward to.