Kamal’s ‘loud Cries Part Of The Plan'

Kamal’s ‘loud Cries Part Of The Plan'

8 November 2011
Kashmir Despatch
Junaid Rashid

Srinagar: National Conference’s blitzkrieg against New Delhi and Congress through newly appointed chief spokesperson Dr Mustafa Kamal is deemed as party’s fresh strategy to rediscover itself as ‘popular voice of Kashmir’. Sources privy to the move say that a strong section of the NC leadership believes that the party’s future lies in its past posturing when it used Delhi-bashing an effective tool to pull along a large chunk of people with it. Party’s senior-most leader and general secretary Sheikh Nazir Ahmad is believed to be the chief architect of the idea. It is said that elevation of Kamal to the high-profile job has also been done at Nazir’s advice. It has reliably been learnt that chief minister Omar Abdullah and party president Farooq Abdullah, despite initial reservations, were on the same page with Nazir and Kamal. That was all the more evident by the elderly rather friendly Thursday’s advice of Farooq Abdullah to Kamal to ‘exercise control’. Abdullah, on January 6 this year, virtually distanced from blood relation with Kamal when he said “Ye Meri Galti Nahi Hai Ki Wo Mera Bhai Hai. Ye To Mere Baap Ki Galti Hai (This is not my mistake that he is my brother. It is my father’s fault).” Abdullah was angry with his brother over his some anti-Congress remarks. On an earlier occasion Abdullah had admonished Kamal as “a man angry for not being appointed as minister”. But, the last Thursday’s statement of Abdullah was more aimed at pacifying army and Congress than admonishing Kamal. “Certain statements made by Kamal on working of coalition government, relationship with Congress party, AFSPA and role of the Army in past few days are regrettable and are not endorsed by me and do not reflect our party’s policy,” Abdullah said on Thursday. When Abdullah’s statement was being circulated in newspaper offices in Srinagar on Thursday, Kamal came out with yet another ‘admonishing’ note against on army. “Army’s reservation about AFSPA that it cannot be revoked till the presence of the last gun is practically irrelevant as it is never going to happen. The law has to go at some point of time and for that you have to start from certain areas and then withdraw it from the entire state,” he told media persons at a party convention in Islamabad. Delhi-bashing had remained a favourite political philosophy of National Conference to draw on local sentiment and gather peoples’ support in the past. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was a great user of this philosophy that made him unparalleled leader in the post-47 era. But NC’s political thinking changed outright after a New Delhi-engineered coup against Abdullah in 1984. A feeling of sorts dawned on NC leadership that the actual power centre located at New Delhi. That led Abdullah to make peace with Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1986. He was reinstated as chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir but with a share of slice to the Congress as well. The NC-Congress alliance also fought the infamously rigged 1987 Assembly elections together to maintain continuity in power-sharing. Delhi-appeasing continued to remain dharma of Abdullah’s’ in 90s as well. Compromising on party’s so-called ideological base of secularism, the NC joined BJP-led government at the centre in 1999 with Omar Abdullah as a minister. NC expelled one of its key leaders and MP Saifuddin Soz from the party when voted in favour of no confidence motion against Atal Biharai Vajpayee government in violation of his party directive. The NC had directed its MP’s to vote against the motion. Interestingly, Soz’s vote turned out to be crucial as Vajpayee-led government fell by one vote only. Soz then joined Congress and is presently chief of the party’s state chapter. The NC was subjected to extreme degree of humiliation by NDA government when it summarily dismissed autonomy resolution passed by the state Assembly in 2000. The NC quietly took the bitter pill. It also maintained discreet silence over the sage massacre of Muslims in Gujrat by state-sponsored Hindu zealots. More-than-required dependence on New Delhi cost the National Conference heavily at home turf. Its support-base shrank drastically and it lost 16 seats to the newly emerged Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in 2002 Assembly elections that brought PDP in coalition with Congress to power. Ironically, the PDP had used the NC’s now-forgotten trick of Delhi-bashing to get people’s support. But the overuse of the trick (which culminated in PDP’s withdrawal of support to the now Ghulam Nabi Azad-led coalition government in 2008) brought Congress-NC coalition back to power after Assembly elections. The PDP however continues with anti-Delhi posturing, at least at public level, which made to keep its support base intact. The PDP claims to have won majority of seats in the recently held Panchayat elections. Sources say that the NC’s think-tank led by stalwart Shaikh Nazir has suggested to all the leaders and workers of the party to take cue from PDP leadership, and try to win back people by taking on Delhi on issues relating to the people of Kashmir. The party’s loud cry against AFSPA and Congress is seen in that context by many a keen observers. (By arrangement with Jehlum Valley Media Group)


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