NC seems conceding to new political realities
SRINAGAR, July 26: In what can be called a complete paradigm shift, National Conference (NC) veterans seem fast realizing the new political realities in Jammu and Kashmir.
In his first interaction with media after abrogation of Article 370, on August 5, 2019, former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah in an interview to Press Trust of India has called for the restoration of Statehood to J&K and hoped the Supreme Court would render justice by striking down the repeal of Article 370 provisions.
The national news agency has quoted him saying that NC would continue to contest the changes in J&K’s special status through all democratic means. “These changes were a “betrayal” of the trust reposed by the people of Jammu and Kashmir when the state acceded to the Union of India,” he has told PTI.
The demand for restoration of Statehood from the National Conference comes at a time when revocation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir nearing completion of the first anniversary next month.
However, the fundamental political stand on J&K for National Conference, from its founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah to Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah has been a vehement demand for restoration of autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir.
Though, both Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah were put in detention following the abrogation of Article 370, both the leaders were released later this year. However, after their release both father and son kept mum over scraping of Article 370, and Article 35-A.
“As a political party, it is but natural that we will keep the people informed about what we are doing to get justice. We are very clear that we do not accept the changes forced on us and will continue to oppose them,” said a veteran leader of the National Conference who was arrested hours before Article 370 provisions were scrapped on August 5 and spent over seven months in detention.
“There is a loss of trust and Delhi has to rebuild the trust. That trust will come only when the statehood is restored and other changes are reversed. That has to be done,” Farooq Abdullah, a sitting member of Lok Sabha has said.
However, in the last interview with a news portal, Farooq had said, “his party would “go to any extent” to protect the Kashmiri people’s constitutional rights. “We never asked for Azadi,” he had added but wanted maximum autonomy.
Meanwhile, a few leaders of National Conference have said that restoration of Statehood is necessary so is autonomy and will fight for both.
Talking to Kashmir Despatch, Mohammad Akbar Lone Member of Parliament, said: “There is no harm in seeking statehood for Jammu and Kashmir. Also, we want both statehood and article 370 for our region and we are not late in issuing a statement as we will keep fighting.”
Hasnain Masoodi, another NC leader and Member Parliament told Kashmir Despatch: “We need to look into the situation. While the restoration of statehood is a need of an hour and we are here for the people and we will keep fighting. Also, we have not forgotten to demand autonomy for people of Jammu and Kashmir as well.”
Going by these statements especially the one that was made by Farooq Abdullah in his interview with PTI reflects that the ground political reality has started dawning on National Conference leadership and now it will start reaching out to its workers with this new electoral plank.
“Earlier they would seek votes for restoration of Autonomy to J&K now they will go to people pledging to continue its fight for the special status of J&K. There is no basic change in the style of politics of NC except for the change in their marketing techniques which will to be updated keeping in view the hurt political aspirations of the people in J&K,” a political expert observed while talking to Kashmir Despatch.
Political circles are abuzz that the newly formed Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party led by Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari’s core agenda involving his basic demand for restoration of Statehood is getting vindicated day by day with the NC now toeing to his line.
“NC has started following the suit after BJP tried to echo Bukhari’s political line. The Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad also went ahead meeting the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and pressing for restoration of the Statehood for J&K. It means all the major political parties including Congress, BJP and NC are following the achievable political goals which were set by JKAP publically last year,” the political observers opined.