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Kashmir – Post 370 – First Signs of Political Activities in Srinagar

Published Dec 24, 2019
Updated Feb 05, 2020

Times of India reported that Mr Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference (NC) and Mehbooba Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held the first meetings after repealing of Article 370on August 5 in Srinagar on 23 December. 100 functionaries of the NC are reported to have participated however permission for senior leaders of the party including the party presidents was not accorded

Never the less it is apparent that there is a review of the situation by the Central and the State government to restart political activities in a small way.

The Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu on 12 December said political vacuum in Jammu and Kashmir won’t last forever. Addressing a function LG Murmu said, “We are empowering people at grass root level. J&K is a Union Territory with legislature and one day there will be elections.”

“The present dispensation is trying to develop road connectivity and is also planning to hold tourism and film industry summits in the Union Territory.” The LG asked the local youth to come forward and become a part of the development programmes.

“J&K youth are quite enthusiastic about different start-up initiatives of the government in partnership with the industry organisations,” he said, adding that “Militancy is under control in J&K.”

The politics of Jammu and Kashmir has been largely dominated by parties in the Kashmir Valley with a few national parties including the Indian National Congress and the Communist Party of India, the Bharatiya Janata Party has a sizeable base in the Jammu region. Given demographics with approximately 7:5 ratio of population between Kashmir and Jammu there is a numerical domination of the Valley, the political impact of which is larger due to fragmented distribution over a larger geographic area in the Jammu region as compared to Kashmir.

The two mainstream national parties the National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have had a large role in politics in J &K. They have been electorally significant though presently their influence has been restricted to the Valley. These parties have been accused from time to time of soft separatism.A new model was said to have been in the offing to replace the two main political streams in the Valley – the Separatists and the Nationalist parties. So what the Government finally decides to put into place remains to be seen?

On the other hand the government is hoping to generate a new set of political leaders at the grass roots.