‘Delhi Chalo’

3 mins read

Asem Mohiuddin

On June 24, the meeting of all parties from Jammu and Kashmir with Prime Minister Narender Modi will be held at Kalyan Marg in New Delhi. Post Article 370 abrogation on August 5, 2019, this is for the first time New Delhi is engaging with Kashmir based political parties especially Peoples Democratic Party and National Conference.

Unlike other smaller parties, the two parties vociferously contested New Delhi’s Kashmir plans despite the Modi government taking harsh measures and clamping down over its political opponents. All the main political parties stood by their demand to restore the pre August 5 position of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory. However, given the demands of Kashmir based mainstream political parties, the New Delhi moved on with certain political initiatives aiming to create a fresh batch of political leaders.

Not only it managed for the first time to have three tiers Panchayat Raj System in place; it however, also recently held District Development Council elections. All these efforts were put in to decentralize the powers to the grass root level.

Even though the Modi government managed to build the skeleton of democratic institutions in UT, what it lacks now are the real political faces to sustain the efforts? Of all the contestants and candidates of DDC and Panchayats, some have potential to grow as full-fledged politicians though they need substantial   time and experience. At the moment it seems a bit difficult for New Delhi to manage Kashmir.

 It needs few faces at least who can represent the UT at international level and handle the day to day affairs in as a locally elected government; the Bureaucracy has overgrown that have technically led to breakdown in governance. But that seems Delhi’s perspective on Kashmir though nothing yet has officially been said.

The bigger question is will PAGD going by the way Delhi wants. Unlikely! All the Kashmir centric political parties are focusing more on Jammu Kashmir’s special status that was abrogated in August 2019. They demand restoration of Article 370 and 35A that was protecting the political and economic rights of the UT.

“GN Azad says they will talk with Modi about restoration of statehood. The other parties including PAGD will also discuss it. But, the question is when Amit Shah and others have already pledged that they will restore the statehood, what is the idea of talking on the very same subject? Looks like hum sab kou maamu bananay ki koshish hai. (seems, we are all made fool),” writes Wasim Khalid on his facebook wall.

The spokesman of the PAGD Muzaffar Ahmad Shah also told media that their priority is to seek the UT’s position as of pre August 5, 2019. “Nothing less nothing more,” he said.

PAGD was formed on August 4, 2019 when the local political parties feared that centre was mulling to abrogate the special position of erstwhile state. The six political parties including the main National Conference and PDP later joined hands and pledged to fight against the constitutional changes.

“We appreciate the steps taken by Prime Minister Narender Modi to engage with Jammu Kashmir political parties. We are attending the meeting and will put forward our viewpoint to PM,” said Mohammad Rafi Mir, spokesman of Apni Party which was formed last year by Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari. Apni party is not part of PAGD.

 

The PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti also accepted the invitation and said the detention of political prisoners and their shift to Kashmir valley will be one of the points she will raise in the meeting. She however, pitched for the dialogue between India and Pakistan.

“If New Delhi is talking with the Taliban why can’t the same happen to Pakistan? Dialogue is the only way forward on Kashmir,” She asserted in a joint press conference after PAGD meeting was concluded.

The PAGD president and NC patron Dr Farooq Abdullah also decided to accept the invitation and assured that he will talk on every issue that is in the interests of Jammu and Kashmir. Fourteen leaders from Jammu and Kashmir have been invited by the PMO to attend the meeting.

Meanwhile, the sources in New Delhi told The Legitimate that no announcements will be made after the meeting of PM with All party leaders.

“No restoration of statehood on cards. Nothing big is going to happen in the meeting, it is simply a political engagement,” said the sources. However, it is to be seen on June 24, how the wind blows in Delhi. Till then these can only be speculations.

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