An intriguing fact came to light on Tuesday, a day after the domicile policy rules were notified by the government. There were statements by almost all political parties having their roots in the Valley rubbishing the new law as untimely, unethical and also reminded Delhi that how the world, J&K included, were fighting the corona virus, and this was not to come out with such policy statements that impact the lives of the people in J&K. What was abundantly clear, such announcements should not have been made in the middle of the international health emergency – J&K has more than 1300 cases and the number is rising. The parties gave vent to their fear that such measures as a follow up action to the decisions of August 5, 2019, were untimely.
Significantly, it reflected a change in the thinking of the political leadership. There was a sort of uniformity in these statements. The nameless spokespersons were saying it on behalf of the parties. No leaders were named. This could not have been a coincidence that all these parties were speaking through their spokespersons, whereas BJP leaders were haling it as an act of equality and dignity from Delhi to Jammu.
This is where the differences in politics emerge and tell a story that how the political leadership is so different. It suits BJP to speak loudly, because it is celebrating what its leaders wanted in Jammu and Kashmir. The erstwhile state’s split into two UTs is also of no concern to them. There is a method in this kind of politics.
This invisibility of Kashmiri leaders in the statements may have been an act of political correctness and prudence on their part for they appear to be unsure whether they can do anything in this point of time. So, they have spoken through their spokespersons. Admittedly, it was to avoid the commitments for future. They didn’t want to speak in specifics, which their spokespersons did.
Why it was significant for them to have put a name to the statements? It would have shown where they stand as of the current status of former state of Jammu and Kashmir that they had claimed in the pre-August 5, 2019, times, promising all “sacrifices” to retain the special status of the state of J&K as also its unity. They were jailed and they could not speak is understandable. But, should they be shy of telling the people what they are committed to at this juncture, and if not that means that they might have reconciled to what they previously thought was irreconcilable.
Anonymous spokesmen can be owned and disowned at any given time depending on the political convenience of the given times.
Or, should it be interpreted that the political order that has structured the internal politics over the decades is fracturing. The culprits are obvious: the situation that came their way. They could not anticipate despite having political farsightedness as to what was going to happen. This also could be because they trusted certain individuals too much and were misled. They, in any case, became prisoners of their own naivety.
BJP and its government had the mandate to do what they did on August 5 last year. There is no dispute over it.
Party’s agenda was clear since its days of Jan Sangh. It had been saying all along that it would scrap Article 370. The BJP leaders were not clenching their fists nor resorting to the rhetoric. They broke the perpetuated myth that they would not do what they hadn’t done for decades.
Narendra Modi moved in a style and dropped enough hints and gave a lot of time to the political leadership about what he would do on becoming Prime Minister of the country. On December 1, 2013, he had declared at “Lalkar rally” at MAM stadium in Jammu that the time has come to debate utility of Article 370. Modi was sure what he had to do. And he did it.
The political campaign during 2014 polls was so divided in Kashmir that the political parties could not gauge what was going to strike their place. BJP won 25 out of 37 seats in Jammu region. It was seen as a passionate desire of the party to share power in J&K, which it did anyways. But there was a larger objective in the sights of BJP.
Kashmir giving zero seats to BJP in the polls was not a dampener for it . The party stuck to its ground and kept on enrolling all the willing souls to march with it. Theirs might have been whispers of challenge to the traditional political order in the Valley, but nevertheless it was there. All those voices among the new entrants in BJP on the eve of 2014 polls that they would pick up guns if Article 370 was scrapped are enjoying the positions given to them. The voices of erstwhile threat have adopted silence on their own volition .
There is a lesson in it.