Asem Mohiuddin PDP
Now eventually the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is back to its rhetoric. The rhetoric has come only after New Delhi said that it will conduct elections in state anytime soon.
“We can conduct the Assembly elections in state with Parliament elections. We have no issues in that. But the final decision will be taken by the Election Commission of India (ECI),” the Union Home ministry replied in the Parliament.
As the news was heard by the political parties in Jammu and Kashmir all have started campaigning and making the public outreach.
The PDP Chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti resorted immediately to rhetoric and reached out to people in her bastion -South Kashmir. She visited so far three militant families defying the security apparatus and later accused security forces for harassing the families of militants. Mehbooba said that though the state police are a disciplined force, however, on directions from somewhere it is torturing and harassing the relatives and family members of militants. She even warned of agitation against any such incident in future.
“I warn against any such incident. People live in perpetual fear during last six months of governor’s rule,” she said.
Nevertheless, Mehbooba’s pro separatist policy is her brand ideology especially when she is in opposition. But her visit to the militant families is exposing her claims that situation in South Kashmir is out of control.
After the demise of PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in January 2016, Mehbooba Mufti took over as State’s chief minister after resigning from the parliamentary seat. However, she failed to conduct the elections for next two years for the parliamentary seat that was left vacant. Mehbooba cited the security reasons as major concern. In fact the PDP where it is sharing a strong vote bank and NC which is second runner not conducted a single public rally.
“There was no public reach during those days and we had not seen any politician either from the government or opposition visiting here to hear our grievances.” said Mohammad Suliman of Anantnag.
Suliman is puzzled to see Mehbooba now reaching out to the places she wants.
“I wonder how she is doing all this and even visiting militant families without facing any threat,” he adds.
Suliman fully understands that it is her political plank to garner the support while visiting militant families since elections are approaching.
“When in power she was defending the killings and now she is shedding tears over the killings by security forces. This is her routine practice and we are aware of it,” he grins.
However, the political pundits are refusing that Mehbooba would succeed in gaining the emotional support in coming elections for her grave failures as chief minister.
“I remember her two statements when in power; the one that her father was a Marde-momin though he was not offering prayers and second defending civilian killings in 2016 in a press conference with union home minister. She said that those who got killed have not gone to buy toffees or milk from army installations. Both the statements would haunt her as people mock her,” said a professor of politics, wishing not to be named.
In 214 during election campaign the PDP fully exploited three major failures of NC-Congress coalition. That includes the infamous rape and murder of Asiya and Neelofar in Shopian in 2009 followed by massive 2010 unrest. As if it was not enough Mehbooba left no stone unturned to exploit politically the hanging of Afzal Guru from streets of valley to the floor of Assembly in 2012. That resulted into the defeat of Omar led coalition.”
Prior to 2009 elections when people first time voted PDP to power in 2002 elections, its founder and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed pitched strongly for the peace and reconciliation process with Pakistan.
“Mufti was lucky that his efforts bore fruits as the global wave post the attack on World Trade Centre was entirely against Pakistan. Pakistan was forced to act on terror and destroy its camps.,” he adds.
He said that to defuse the pressure Pakistan agreed to support the initiatives with India and the barter trade was started between two countries in Jammu and Kashmir. It was later followed by the peace bus service to connect two divided regions.
While on the ground, late Mufti also managed to ensure to curtail the powers of security forces and the common people heaved sigh of relief.
Ghulam Hassan Wani, PDP worker seconds professor.
“No doubt such measures imbibed a sense of security among common people. I was also unnecessarily tortured by security forces until Mufti trimmed their powers. That prompted me to join the mainstream politics and I became the worker of PDP,” Ghulam Hassan of Baramulla said.
Meanwhile, nothing much of its past can be counted for the PDP in upcoming elections. If the party insiders are believed the party is finding itself in a very tough position to consolidate its vote bank across the valley.
“It has reaped the benefits of its good done in past. Now we are preparing to reap the worst due to the blunders Mehbooba ji committed as Chief Minster.
How can we convince our voters when nothing good was done, rather pellets, bullets and civilian killings were justified in power by her,” said a worker of PDP from Pulwama.
He says the way PDP exploited the failures of Omar Abduallah government in past and secured the power, they will do the same now.
Even opposition has already started now campaigning about the failures of PDP in power.
“Mehbooba committed many blunders like joining BJP as its coalition partner. It wiped out any sympathy the party was enjoying in separatist camp. Second, the killing of Burhan Wani, top militant commander have substantially eroded the support for party though it was believed as soft separatist party. Hundreds got killed in security forces action after her government allowed operation all out in Kashmir. Thousands of people received pellet injuries and she did nothing to stop that. What will it sell to win the elections,” he questions.
PDP Additional Spokesperson, Tahir Sayeed however, disagrees with the ground facts. He says that PDP is the only political dispensation that in opposition and power reached out to the victims of violence.
“In 2017 when Mehbooba ji was chief minister she directed police force at a passing out parade at Manigham not to harass families of militants. She even said that during encounters Security forces shall make all efforts to convince the militants to surrender instead of killing them. Killing shall be last resort,” she had directed.
“You can show me any political party in Kashmir that has made any outreach to the victims of violence” adding, “they have full faith to secure majority seats in coming elections.”