B L Saraf
Much as the BJP managers would tell the people that tinkering of Art 370 and abolition of Art 35A were dictated, only by a desire to ameliorate political and economic condition of people in Jammu and Kashmir, nonetheless, the move seems to have been made with a calculated purpose to sway people in India in favor of the party. It became clear when we found this constitutional tinkering consuming better part of the speech of every BJP leader while on the campaign trail in Maharashtra and Haryana – emphasized as fulfillment of Party’s main agenda . Indeed latter part of the statement is true.
But see the irony! When the implementation of emasculated Article 370 and aftereffects of the abolished 35 A is under way in Jammu & Kashmir (Ladahk included ) its much anticipated dividends have refused to come to the BJP’s political kitty. The 5th August venture has not helped the party to garner votes even in Jammu and Ladakh regions which were supposed to benefit ‘ immensely ‘ from the exercise. BJP could not win even one third of the 307 seats in just concluded BDC elections and it is quite surprising that the people in Jammu could vote quite unexpectedly so soon after neutralizing Art 370 and abolition of Art 35 A . It is a jolt of sorts to the party which desired to sweep the BDC polls in Jammu and Ladakh. Of all the places in Leh BJP suffered a defeat while as in Poonch it couldn’t manage even to open an account. These results have revealed that there are no takers of the ‘rosy picture ‘ portrayed by the BJP after the eclipse of Art 370. Voters had real and tangible issues in mind when they entered pooling booths. Matters of bread and butter were more important to them than the over -hyped nationalistic rhetoric .
Coming as it does after denying political level field to the opposition the BJP’s poor showing in the BDC election tells a big story – certainly not to the comfort of the party . Then it reveals the truth that the old political guard still holds sway in the state much against the theory propounded that people in state ‘ look up to the new and young leadership .’ The story is same in other parts of the country that went to the Assembly polls. Alteration of these constitutional provisions – touted as a bold and game changer – didn’t yield the expected results for the BJP.
That the main purpose to dilute Art 370 was more for political reasons – caring less for the consequences it may throw up in Kashmir – was quite evident when B JP managers went to the remote hamlets of Maharashtra to tell the impoverished and economically deprived farmers and rural unemployed youth about the so called benefits of dilution of Art 370 and abolition of 35A . People in farm distress and those whose kith and kin had to end their lives on account of such distress cared less for the rhetoric : and having got very little to survive from the incumbent government, ignored the ‘nationalistic bombast ‘.
The biggest decline is seen in Haryana where from a projected position of windfall of Assembly seats, BJP felt compelled to woo Dushyant Chautala’s JJP to form the government. And ended up by conceding Deputy Chief Minister’s post to Chautala. Story is no different in Maharashtra. Against the tall claim of making government on its own, the BJP is now at the mercy of its unpredictable ally -the Shive Sena to form Government of some purpose. Remember, Haryana is the state which sends a large number of people to the Army and security forces who are generally expected to get enthused at the nationalistic slogan.
Some say that elections in states are fought on local issues so the electoral reversal should not be seen as a reflection on working of the central government. True, but BJP carried issue of 370 to the far off places in Maharashtra and Haryana to lure voters.
PM Narendra Modi’s speech delivered soon after the Maharashtra and Haryana assembly elections were out sounded more explanatory than the one of a jubiliation – quite contrast in tone and texture which we heard from him in May last, after Lok-Sabah Election results went in his favor.
It is time that BJP learns limits of the ‘nationalistic fervor ‘and lowers down the political hype. Central government should earnestly engage in tackling the economic issues that have inflicted miseries on the people. Surely, PM Modi has the capacity and a will to do it. Only priority is to be changed. This is more needed while dealing with Kashmir. It should desist from foisting spurious leaders and time servers on the people at the cost of genuine leadership, which stands incarcerated at the moment. Political hubris is not a good tool to deal with the people when they are reeling under an emotional hurt. Everyone in Kashmir is not a Pakistani. Good number of them have sacrificed their everything for India. It is no wisdom to paint them with the same brush and lump them with the undesirable political elements.
Kashmir stands locked for the last three months. According the local Chamber of Commerce, Valley has suffered a huge loss which is dragging down Jammu also. Arrogance has to give way to the compassion and a dialogue with the genuine stake holders in the state must start forthwith. This is opportune time as 31st October has yielded place to the Ist Nov – the ‘promised dawn ‘ to usher in prosperity to the locked Valley. That should trickle down to the people in real terms and in good time. Along with, is the need of an effort to assuage their hurt feelings.
(The author is former Principal District & Sessions Judge)
The views expressed in the Article above are Author’s personal views and kashmiribhatta.in is not responsible for the opinions expressed in the above article.
Courtesy: Daily Excelsior: 31st October, 2019