Jammu: Can an alliance supposedly formed for a “big cause” fizzle out for some barbs aimed at one constituent by the other partner?
And if that happens, can the constituents still call themselves “comrades in arms”? Can the act of washing dirty linen in public by ‘friends’ and then posing as one unit go together?
Questions may have a tricky answer but J&K is watching it live in the performance of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), formed by the foes-turned-friends after the abrogation of Article 370 with an “avowed objective of seeking restoration of scrapped special status (of J&K).”
Since its (PAGD’s) inception in 2020, the political detractors and even the common persons have always been sceptical about the intentions and resolve of its constituents, mainly the major partners i.e., National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), given their “North Pole-South Pole historical background.”
Still so far they have managed to pull along, sometimes with the right kind of noise while dragging it the other times despite producing a cacophony.
Yet the resolution of NC’s provincial committee, following a meeting chaired by party’s vice president and the former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on August 24 to “prepare and fight solo all 90 seats” in ensuing assembly polls, for sure, sounded music to the ears of political detractors.
However it has left the already baffled masses of J&K further confused, wondering – Was the “big cause” actually the glue that joined them together to cobble this alliance or was it just a “mist” acting as a smoke-screen to befool them (people)?
“The participants present in the meeting expressed dismay over the recent statements, audio jingles and speeches made by some of the constituents of the PAGD targetting JKNC. They felt that it did not contribute to the overall unity of the amalgam. They denounced the unfair treatment meted out to JKNC in PAGD. The participants demanded immediate course correction from PAGD constituents,” the party (NC) spokesman had said in a statement issued to the press on Wednesday.
The statement left a lot of scope for speculation for confused masses and even greater scope for “shadow-boxing” among the constituents. This became further evident in the instant reactions of other constituents, mainly PDP and the CPI-M.
The PAGD spokesperson and CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said that the amalgam was together in defence of the rights of people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“As and when elections are announced we will take note of it and take stock of things and accordingly the situation will be discussed,” he had said.
“PAGD was conceived for a much larger cause than just an electoral alliance. If some constituent of the Alliance has reservations for any kind of electoral alliance, that will not impact our unity for the larger goal,” chief spokesman of the PDP Suhail Bukhari said in a tweet.
But can this “shadow-boxing” befool the masses? Chances seem to be remote. Probably realising this, the NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah on Thursday appeared to be in “fire-fighting” mode.
“The PAGD will never shut its doors,” he told media persons, while responding to obvious queries.
“NC was a democratic party, but the final decision will be taken at the time of the polls. Resolution is okay. The NC is a democratic party and a democratic party can pass resolutions, but the final decision will be taken when the time for election comes,” he said.
Meanwhile an interesting take on the developments came from a leader of PAGD’s main political detractor Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and former Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta.
He asserted, “The PAGD honeymoon is bound to end sooner than later as it has been created to befool the people. It aims at fulfilling a secessionist agenda and satiating the vested interests of its constituents.”
Kavinder said, “The BJP had right from the day of formation of PAGD asserted that the alliance was a “gang of Valley based politicians” created solely against the nationalist section of this Union Territory in support of the separatist elements who were responsible for promoting terrorism and secessionist ideology in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.”
All said and done, one wonders – is it the narrow road to power, which ensuing assembly elections will entail, that has caused this “wide split open” in PAGD?