Dr. Farooq Abdullah, who recently filed his nomination from Srinagar Lok Sabha parliamentary seat was seen telling a news reporter of a national news channel that instead of campaigning for his own Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, he would be campaigning in South India for Mamata Banerjee led “Mahagathabandhan”, a motley group of few opposition forces.
He said that he is “more concerned” that communal forces should not come to power in Delhi, the second consecutive time, rather than worrying about his own home state of Jammu & Kashmir.
His statement perfectly sums up the insensitive, casual, feudal, nonchalant, elitist approach of senior Abdullah, whose selfish politics of disdain for Kashmir; his colonial attitude towards Kashmiri people and his thirst for “self-importance” in national politics and national media has contributed to the near destruction of Kashmir valley.
National Conference – a party that once upon a time symbolized aspirations of common Kashmiris stands today tarnished in the eyes of common Kashmiri people.
It is tragic that Farooq Abdullah, who despite knowing how much he is despised by common Kashmiri doesn’t care much about the opinion of Kashmiri people as he continues to believe in the vintage 80s politics of Kashmir, when National Conference employed all dirty tricks in the book including threatening and intimidating opposition candidates and at the same time encouraging corrupt, feudal, sycophant and non-meritorious candidates within National Conference to ensure that there is no competition to the Abdullah family. In fact Farooq Abdullah’s baptism in Kashmir politics was through his so called “victory” in Srinagar Lok Sabha elections, which he “won” “unopposed” – a term in Kashmir used for unfair election victory through bribe, threats and intimidation of opposing candidates.
The result of all these dirty shenanigans all through these decades has been that the National Conference is today not a political party but a group of individuals and families who want to make the best as the valley is facing the worst.
Furthermore, even as Kashmir plunged into deadly spiral of unending violence, Farooq Abdullah maintained this dichotomy of his dual approach towards Kashmir and Kashmiri people on one hand and his carefully crafted image on national media and politics on the other. Rather than heralding Kashmir through initial years of insurgency in 1990s, Farooq Sahab ran away to comfort zones when the valley was burning.
Farooq Abdullah, who unlike his legendary father never had any political charisma that could inspire Kashmiri people has been resorting largely to blackmailing New Delhi in believing that “there is no alternative” (TINA) factor to force himself (and his family) upon Kashmiri people since 1996. But things have been changing ever since and they are changing very fast.
Emergence of other political parties in Kashmir valley, a process that began with the emergence of PDP, which was formulated by late Mufti Mohammad Syed , has today branched into mushrooming of several other smaller and nascent political parties including recently formed JK People’s Movement of Shah Feasal.
The electoral political field in Kashmir is far more competitive today than it was in 60s or 90s and unlike Farooq Sahab, who is well in his 80s, there are many youthful faces in Kashmir politics today, who have managed to capture imagination of large number of Kashmiris, especially Kashmir’s youth population that comprises nearly 60% of total population of Kashmir.
Farooq Abdullah, who has virtually no connect with Kashmiri youth of 2019 and who continues to treat Kashmir only as his personal fiefdom, which he thinks will elect him to Lok Sabha, where he can play much more “important role” on national level is clearly out of touch with the times. Ironically, even on national level, he is hardly given any “importance” or credence, where he is only known more for his theatrics, buffoonery and turncoat behavior as someone who is neither loyal to Kashmiri people nor to Delhi but is loyal only to power and the immense monetary benefits and perks that power brings.
The million-dollar question is that even as Farooq Abdullah once again embarks upon his next political journey by fighting Srinagar Lok Sabha elections, seeking “important” political role in extremely crowded national political scene and in an equally crowded Kashmir’s political scene by relying on the same old feudal tactics to yet again capture power; will a “new Kashmir” and “new India” once again give Farooq Abdullah, yet another chance to gain power and continue to enjoy luxurious life style and to enrich his family, even as Kashmir burns to ashes, only time will tell.
(Javaid Beigh is a Political Activist and aspiring Politician, who has worked as PRO to Ex CM of J&K )