By Sheikh Qayoom
Jammu, June 4 (IANS) Political circles in Jammu and Kashmir are agog with the recent statement of BJP national General Secretary, Ram Madhav in which he said the union territory would soon have an elected Legislature.
Madhav’s statement is being read with Thursday’s release of three mainstream politicians who had been placed under detention last year following the abrogation of Article 370 and downgrading the state into two union territories.
While Madhav has asserted that a political process in J&K cannot be started by the bureaucrats as only the politicians can do that, he also said nobody can stop the local politicians from working for the solutions of problems faced by the people.
Despite the promise of an early restoration of the political process in J&K which has been reiterated by Ram Madhav, political analysts and constitutional experts maintain that Madhav’s “restarting of the political process in J&K soon’ might not actually be possible that soon.
“A delimitation is already in place to reorganise and reframe new Assembly constituencies and the reservation of some of these for the under privileged sections of the union territory.
“Even if the delimitation commission works overtime it might not be possible for the commission to come out with the final recommendations in less than one year.
“This implies that the soonest we can think of a political process in genuine terms would be by the middle of 2021”, said a local advocate known for his understanding of constitutional matters.
Although the BJP never stopped its political activities even after August 5, 2019 when Article 370 was abrogated, all other political parties both national and local went into total hibernation in J&K.
Top leadership of two major political parties, the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was placed under detention after August 5, 2019.
Although the top leaders of the NC including Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah have been released, former Chief Minister and PDP chief, Mehbooba Mufti still continues to remain under detention.
The NC has decided to stay away from the delimitation commission despite three of its Lok Sabha members, Dr. Farooq, Hasnain Masoodi and Mohammad Akbar being nominated as members of the commission.
The NC wants restoration of Pre-August 5 position in J&K which is unlikely to happen.
Delhi will have to give them some face saving if they have to be part of the new political process in J&K.
This is also true of the PDP although its demands might not matter so much to Delhi.
Ram Madhav has accepted that after the changed ground realities new political forces would emerge in J&K yet given the present situation, creation of three new political fronts led separately by Sajad Gani Lone, Altaf Bukhari and bureaucrat turned politician, Shah Faesal are still to organise themselves at the grassroots level.
Another problem for the emergence of new players in J&K is that despite the PDP getting split into dissidents and loyalists, Kashmiris still believe that Mehbooba Mufti is the real leader of the PDP.
How much the PDP has lost in terms of its ground support is visible to everybody, but believing that the game is up for Mehbooba is believing too much.
The NC has remained intact all these months since the constitutional and the administrative status of J&K was changed.
Traditionally, the NC has been a Pro-Kashmir party that had sizeable presence even outside the Valley.
The detention of the NC’s leaders has somehow given them the advantage of being seen in the eyes of the common Kashmir as those who wronged and were finally wronged by Delhi.
This could come handy during the elections when people would have to choose between the new and the old faces.
It a nutshell, while the restoration of a genuine political process cannot take place in J&K without the traditional players, expecting that the union territory would have a Legislature in place ‘too soon’ appears to be far fetched.