It hardly matters whether elections to Local Bodies are held or postponed as the damage to the mainstream politics has already been done since the frustration and sense of defeat among regional parties is now out in the open.
Nothing more surprising and shocking for New Delhi that people like Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have raised red flags and are saying no to elections. It hardly matters whether elections to Local Bodies are held or postponed as the damage to the mainstream politics has already been done since the frustration and sense of defeat among regional parties is now out in the open. For obvious reasons New Delhi cannot express and confess the impact of NC and PDP boycotting the elections but one thing that can be understood without narrating it is the fact that New Delhi pushed all those who participated in elections since 1996 to the wall and rather making the mainstream voices credible it unfortunately encouraged their fragmentation and tried to control them by dictates. There can be not even a single instance when New Delhi would have at least listened and bailed out the voice of mainstream. Though the mainstream parties can never ever be exonerated from getting their credibility and worth reduced to the level of being seen like proxies and rubber stamps of New Delhi, but it seems that New Delhi by its arrogances facilitated early funeral of mainstream politics than anticipated. While New Delhi has a long history of broken promises since 1947 but what it did in the post 1989 era is painful. Rather understanding the significance of resolution to Kashmir dispute and the huge negative fall out of militancy that took birth in J&K, it just believed in policies like divide and rule, catch and kill, creating counter insurgency, undermining authority of J&K Assembly, strengthening political renegades, encouraging communal, ethnic and regional divide, allowing controlled democracy and distorting history. First encouraging so called moderate voices within pro-resistance political and militant groups and then discrediting those moderates helped New Delhi in the shorter run and it continued with the same policy while dealing with those who believed in electoral politics. For the lack of sincerity the hopes of moderates in militant ranks, mainstream and separatist political circles got dashed to earth and they achieved nothing except becoming suspicious and like traitors in the eyes of their people. Had New Delhi at least respected and accommodated moderate separatist voices and not insulted and disgraced mainstream parties from 1996 till date, Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti would not have been compelled to surrender. One may defer with NC and PDP but cannot undermine their significance. Like slow poisoning New Delhi tried to kill the desire among people of J&K for a resolution to the seventy year long dispute but when people like Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are forced to say no to elections, one must realize the gravity of failures and distrust. More than Kashmiris it should be concern for New Delhi “What next” as when Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti whom Kashmiris see as more Indians than the Indians themselves feel so alienated and disappointed, no alternate forces can fill the vacuum without proper and desired political package. It seems that 35-A debate was an excuse and a trigger as both NC and PDP are aware that Kashmir dispute is much beyond and bigger than 35-A and article 370. If New Delhi yet again fails to read writing on the wall and does not restore the confidence not only among mainstream parties but in the pro-resistance groups as well, things may move to worst and if everybody is rendered irrelevant it is not difficult to imagine where will things go. Participating in elections neither made Congress nor Muslim League traitors but for the want of electoral and democratic process credibility, New Delhi has allowed all those forces to claim victory who would call electoral process a futile exercise. The muscular approach has failed and if New Delhi still goes ahead with its poll drama, it would be the last nail in the coffin of so called mainstream politics in J&K. Let New Delhi understand that mainstream parties running away from elections means further pressure on hard liner separatists to harden their stand and it will further reduce scope of reconciliation between the stake holders. Pushing NC and PDP to the other side, removing local police officers from Mr. Vaid to District SPs, cleansing of Muslim bureaucrats from prestigious posts and running a managed show from civil secretariat will harm none but New Delhi’s own interests in J&K and things may become more difficult for India in coming times.