Mainstream parties boycotting the polls entails a huge risk

By going ahead with the proposal of conducting Municipal and Panchayat polls it seems that ego has over powered the sense of reconciliation and consultation.

Er Rasheed
Srinagar, Publish Date: Sep 21 2018 10:00PM | Updated Date: Sep 21 2018 10:00PM
Mainstream parties boycotting the polls entails a huge riskRepresentational Pic

Till recent past New Delhi would sometimes urge, and many a time beg, pro resistance leadership to participate in elections. But the times have changed and now New Delhi seems to have decided to bulldoze even those who were seen as its roots of existence in J&K.

By going ahead with the proposal of conducting Municipal and Panchayat polls it seems that ego has over powered the sense of reconciliation and consultation.

Rejecting NC and PDP’s genuine concerns New Delhi dared to challenge their worth and coming days would be truly not less than a referendum between New Delhi and J&K. One wonders why didn’t pro resistance leadership especially Geelani Sb publicly hail at least NC and PDP for announcing boycott to elections, something pro-resistance leaders would always urge mainstream parties to do. The only reason they would call mainstream parties as traitors would be their participation in elections and now when major mainstream parties had announced their boycott to current polls, and have been taking on New Delhi comparatively with bold initiatives, the least pro-resistance leaders should have done, would be to hail the move. Even if the intentions and the designs of NC and PDP would have been to fight the election through their proxies but pro-resistance parties could have taken ball to their court by catching bull by the horn. Any way let us leave that question to the pro-resistance camp and just say a word of caution to both NC and PDP that credibility of both of you is at stake and even your worst enemies are worried about the fate of your non-participation in  these polls. Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have of course taken a historic decision, but unless both the parties don’t find some common ground to carry forward things further, their move to boycott polls may harm them much beyond their anticipation. It seems New Delhi has been told that after every mass agitation Kashmiris vote in huge numbers even more than the national average. Former raw chief Mr Dulat’s observation that Kashmiris don’t take much time to reconcile also seems to have paid a role in encouraging New Delhi to bypass NC and PDP. Hard core pro Kashmiri nationalists who have been very critical of NC and PDP too may be praying that NC and PDP’s decision to boycott these polls may turn a huge success, as not only the credibility of these two parties but that of entire Kashmiri nation is at stake. If NC and PDP do still participate in these elections through proxies it would be like not only committing suicide but stabbing Kashmiris at the most crucial juncture. The reason is simple that even if NC and PDP would make electoral process success by their proxy campaign, deeming to have done it only for their own survival, they will achieve nothing except making laughing stock of themselves. It matters very little for New Delhi if proxies of NC and PDP may sweep these polls. What matters is New Delhi will declare from the Red Fort and the Parliament that first Kashmiris used to reject election boycott call by pro-resistance leaders and now they have rejected NC and PDP too. New Delhi will claim it as a successful funeral of NC and PDP; as peoples participation in these polls will be presented, both in India and before the international community, as a total success for New Delhi. No leader of any ideology can reach and knock every body’s door. It is the toughest time for common masses to give a positive response to the call of mainstream parties. Let us not forget that labelling those as traitors who would contest elections has been more a hobby than a conviction for almost every Kashmiri and even those who cast their vote have not been the exception in naming and shaming mainstream politicians. While New Delhi seems nervous and may use all possible ways and means to ensure participation in these elections, it is common masses who are in the driving seat. Of course boycotting elections may never be  a solution but in the current situation they need to make the boycott call a success so that New Delhi doesn’t  ever dare to treat Kashmiris as tissue paper. All the political parties have given masses a golden chance to change the discourse and unfortunately if the move fails every Kashmiri will have to own the responsibility and not only so called mainstream parties.

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