NC on crutches, fall looks imminent

After the death of the legendary leader, his son Dr Farooq Abdullah took the control of the party forcefully and groomed a coterie around him which comprised of such people who neither had any knowledge nor vision.
JKNC President, Farooq Abdullah (R) flanked by his son and Party's Vice President, Omar Abdullah. [Representational Image]
JKNC President, Farooq Abdullah (R) flanked by his son and Party's Vice President, Omar Abdullah. [Representational Image] File: Aman Farooq/GK

National Conference, the “grand old party” of Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a massive downfall during the past few years. The party has no one to blame for its decline other than its own leadership.

In changed political scenario post abrogation of Article 370, the National Conference is struggling to remain relevant. It’s trying to sell “old wine” in a new bottle but is not finding any takers as people seem least interested in the dramas being staged by the NC leaders.

There was a time when people in Kashmir used to swear by the National Conference as the party founder late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah had a vision as a leader. The late leader in 1970’s had realized that plebiscite and Pakistan were no options for Kashmiris.

He gave up all his agendas and joined hands with New Delhi to secure the future of his people. The common man in Kashmir used to respect him for being a visionary with a strong educational background. The NC founder always remained connected with his people and made every possible attempt to empower them.

He was the first person to shun the agenda of Pakistan and plebiscite as he had understood that Pakistan will use Kashmiris for its own vested interests.

His apprehension were proven correct few years after his death as Pakistan since 1989 didn’t leave any stone unturned to turn Kashmir into a graveyard.

After the death of the legendary leader, his son Dr Farooq Abdullah took the control of the party forcefully and groomed a coterie around him which comprised of such people who neither had any knowledge nor vision.

They were encouraged by the former J&K Chief Minister and put in the driver’s seat. These people left no opportunity to even abuse the family members of late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, including his daughter and son-in-law late Ghulam Mohammad Shah.

The people, who abused late Sheikh Abdullah’s daughter and his son-in-law, were given the top positions in the National Conference and they continue to rule the roost even today. Dr Farooq along with the elements which he had nurtured joined hands with the Congress Party in 1987 and rigged the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Dr Farooq ensured that he becomes the undisputed ruler. In the process he bulldozed his opponents and became the head of the erstwhile J&K State. The rigged elections of 1987 proved to be a turning point in the history of Jammu and Kashmir and led to the arrival of the gun sponsored by Pakistan.

The neigbouring country took full advantage of the chaos that was created by Dr Farooq and his coterie, which murdered democracy to get the power.

Their lust for power allowed Pakistan to exploit the situation and turn J&K from a peaceful and prosperous zone into a conflict zone with Kashmiris being used as cannon-fodder.

Even today the culture in the National Conference hasn’t changed Dr Farooq Abdullah’s coterie has remained unchanged. It’s managing the NC in same way as it used to in 1987.

The party leaders continue to abuse their opponents and are against any new people joining the party. Even after three decades the party has no such face which it can claim is a knowledgeable person and who is connected with the common people.

Dr Farooq Abdullah’s son, Omar Abdullah, tried to bring the much needed change in his party after he assumed the office of J&K chief minister in 2009.

He made every possible attempt to set the things right by encouraging new and educated people into the party but the ones who have been managing the National Conference for the past so many years ensured that Omar Abdullah doesn’t succeed in his endeavors and the reforms initiated by him are toppled.

Despite being the J&K chief minister for six years, Omar was nothing more than a “caged parrot “ who was not allowed by the NC managers to spread his wings. His efforts to revive Youth National Conference werescuttled as that wing of the party too is being managed a few selected people, who work on the instructions of the coterie sitting at the top.

After the abrogation of Article 370, the NC has lost its relevance as the common people in Kashmir have understood that the people managing the NC are least interested in the welfare of a common Kashmiri.

The coterie groomed by Dr Farooq Abdullah is still actively managing the party affairs and is not allowing anyone, including Omar Abdullah, to come forward and rebuild the party which has almost crumbled under its own weight. The party has no intellectuals or thinkers left.

Nor are there are any such leaders who can formulate a plan to rebuild the National Conference and the youth wing of the party.

The youth National Conference comprises of the heirs, whose predecessors have been serving the dynasties and have hijacked the very idea of representation.

The National Conference has crumbled and fallen it seems in no position to make a comeback. The grand old party in J&K is on crutches and it becoming a history looks imminent.

The writer is a Journalist, Author political activist , & Sectt General of International Centre for Peace Studies (ICPS ) Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my organisation or Party .

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.

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