Kashmir Politics

Assembly Elections 1987

Four months after the assumption of power by Dr. Farooq Abdullah, fresh elections were held for the State Assembly on 23 March 1987 which were contested by the Congress-I and the NC, in coalition. Before the elections, various secessionist and fundamentalist forces joined hands to form a 'Muslim United Front' mainly pointing out that the NCF had capitulated before the Centre for the sake of power and bartered away the special identity of the State. Efforts were made to arouse Muslim sentiments along communal lines. The NC-Congress(I) combine contested all the 76 seats and the MUF, 43 seats. However, the NC-Congress (I) alliance won 66 seats and the MUF could secure only 4 seats in the Valley even though it had polled 31% votes. This led to widespread allegations of rigging and misuse of power. This election in a way was a watershed in the politics of the state. The NC-Congress (I) coalition left a vacuum in the secular/democratic politics of the state which was gradually filled in by the secessionist and fundamentalist forces. Allegations of malpractices and rigging by the NCF led to the disillusionment of the new generation of Kashmiris. Accompanied by rampant corruption, mal-administration and strains within the coalition, the government failed to administer the State effectively. In this environment, secessionist and subversive elements started claiming that they had been denied democratic rights illegally and began justifying a recourse to unconstitutional and other methods. It was in this environment that Pakistan capitalised and encouraged the Kashmiri youth to come across the border and receive arms training to begin an armed secessionist movement.