Last week the focus at political level remained on the Karnataka assembly poll results. The results saw Congress getting absolute majority and the ruling BJP in the state losing the power.
This triggered a debate at national and local levels, and different people and varied parties reacted differently. In Jammu and Kashmir also some parties offered their comments and some preferred not to comment.
Several people tried to connect the outcome of Karnataka assembly polls with the Lok Sabha (Parliament) polls, scheduled next year, opining that it can have an impact on the latter.
Assembly elections in a state can never be a yardstick to predict the outcome of parliament polls in the country. Assembly polls and Lok Sabha polls are entirely two different things and contested differently on different issues.
Assembly polls are fought on local issues of that state and performance and governance of the ruling party there. On the other hand Lok Sabha polls are contested on national narratives and overall performance of the ruling party or parties at the centre.
After the Karnataka polls, assembly elections in five more states are also likely to be held this year. They are Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telengana. Surely the results of these polls too would be interesting to watch.
But again the results will be based on the performance of the present governments in those states. The assembly polls in states could not affect the Lok Sabha polls in past and cannot affect in future also.
Any election, however, makes it amply clear that democracy is very much deep rooted in the country and that democracy continues to be the soul of India. In state assembly polls, the national narratives cannot always help a party to win. It is the performance for which the people mostly vote.
Like other states, major political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have also tasted victories and defeats in the assembly polls. They too understand the power of votes in a democratic set up.
This strength of votes sometimes open doors to power corridors for them and sometimes shuts them close. Usually after being in power, the ruling parties do not like to face the elections also due to the fear of anti-incumbency. Some people say that power makes some politicians over-confident (or arrogant) and which ultimately leads to their downfall.
The then powerful prime minister Indira Gandhi imposed emergency in the country in 1975. The emergency was preceded by the Allahabad High Court passing a judgment holding her guilty of electoral malpractices and disqualifying her from holding public office for six years. Then she and her party lost power in 1977 Lok Sabha polls. In various states too the politicians keep on becoming over-confident once in power.
Same over-confidence among politicians hit the J&K politics also from time to time. The level of over-confidence varied from one leader to another. In the process, once most powerful and most relevant became weak and irrelevant with time.
Going by the stature and popularity of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah during his time, he could have ruled J&K for long. But, this did not happen. Following serious differences with the then prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was dismissed as prime minister of J&K on August 8, 1953.
It took him 22 long years to return to power and that too as chief minister with Congress support. That support was again withdrawn to him in 1977. However, his party returned to power with absolute majority in the assembly polls that year.
Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah remained chief minister till his death on September 8, 1982. Over-confidence again cost his son Dr Farooq Abdullah his chief ministership when Indira Gandhi toppled his government in 1984 for "hobnobbing with national level opposition parties."
Farooq later kept on losing popular mandate and thus power. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is said to have also become over-confident in 2005 when he wanted to continue as chief minister and deny chief ministership to Ghulam Nabi Azad. But Congress leadership did not agree and he was made to stick to the agreement.
Omar too was affected by the power related over-confidence to some extent but he also tried to play safe to complete his six year term as chief minister. However, he too lost the mandate of people. Over-confidence also affected Mehbooba Mufti when she was ruling the state.
On several occasions, the central government supported her moves and ignored or rejected the protest or objections by the local BJP leaders against some of her moves.
This over-confidence resulted in Mehbooba losing touch with ground realities and she was caught unawares when support to her government was finally withdrawn by the BJP. Now all the leaders and parties are trying to become relevant again through the much awaited assembly polls. But they will have to face tough competition from others too at the time of elections.
Author is senior editor, Greater Kashmir
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.