J&K political landscape may witness a new political party soon
Insiders confirm to Asiaville
Although no one in Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad's family took his political legacy forward, there is a small group of politicos in the Valley of Kashmir who are poised to replicate him, though in a slightly different way.
Bakshi took over as the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir after Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was suddenly stripped of power and gaoled in 1953.
Although Bakshi put the erstwhile state on the path of development, he, with the support of New Delhi, wrote a rather undemocratic chapter in the tumultuous history of Kashmir.
Sixty seven years down the line, some political leaders are making all out efforts to form a new political party with the help of New Delhi. Leaders largely from three main political parties - National Conference( NC), Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and Indian National Congress (INC) - have been engaged in intense parleys to mint a new political outfit.
While many political leaders including three former Chief Ministers have been subjected to prolonged incarceration after the ruling dispensation stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its leftover autonomy, at least a dozen political leaders, particulary those who ran foul of their parties, are said to be in constant touch with top BJP leaders to form a new political party to reconcile with the August 5 development.
Ghulam Hassan Mir, a former minister and president of Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Party Nationalist conceded that a new political party would be formed soon. "Consultations with different political leaders are on. We hope a new political platform will emerge soon”, Mir told Asiaville. Mir said the need for a new political platform rose, following the abrogation of the special position of Jammu and Kashmir, to take the state out of its current crisis.
Mir, however, did not divulge the names of other leaders who would come together to form the new platform. “Many leaders from different political parties will be the part of this new platform. It would be rather premature to give any details about these leaders”, he said.
Former PDP leader Altaf Bukhari, who was also a minister in the Mehbooba Mufti led PD-BJP government is seen as the architect of the new political arrangement which Mir preferred to call "platform". At least a dozen odd political leaders, mostly from PDP, met up with the New Delhi based foreign envoys in Srinagar last month. This political band was also led by Bukhari.
Soon after the development, PDP forced nine political leaders out of the party including its former law makers, spokesperson and ministers.
Bukhari did not preclude the possibility of formation of a new political party in the region. "We will not shy away from forming a political party, if the need arises", Bukhari said. Sources privy to the development told Asiaville that at least five to six meetings were already held with different political leaders thus far.
"The new party will be formed within two to three months with many senior political leaders as its members", said the sources.
Most of them, according to the sources, are the turncoat politicians.
Javed Baig,a former PDP law maker, who was thrown out of the party following his meeting with the Leiutinent Governor, along with the Bukhari led delegation, said that he would be part of any such political formation. Around four more political leaders this reporter interviewed for this article admitted in a tacit manner that the formation of new political party was on the cards.
Bakshi during his decade long rule brought the former state of Jammu and Kashmir on the map of development to take the attention of masses away from the Sheikh's separatist politics. Political analysts believe the new political outfit is all set to tow the Bakshi's 67 -year-old line to divert attention from the Modi government's August 5 radical move.
"If media reports are to be believed, it seems that history has come full circle. They will make the development a main poll plank during the elections to divert the attention of people from the August 5 move", said a political analyst, who teaches at a local university, refusing to be named in this report.
Baig said that the new party, if formed, would push for the restoration of statehood, release of political detainees; safeguarding the rights of locals on the land and government employment. Opposition political parties believe that any such political arrangement would in no way help to assuage the hurt caused due to the reading down of the special provisions of Jammu and Kashmir.
"The issue is bigger than the formation of a government. How could it address the alienation running deep among young men in the Valley?", asked G.M Mizrab, regional secretary, Communist Party of India( CPI).
He added that nothing would work unless the core political issue was resolved.
Congress party chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir took the reports about the formation of new political outfit with a pinch of salt.
" It is a disgruntled lot, largly from the PDP, who are perhaps making such efforts. After the demise of Mufti Syed, these leaders had also tried to dislodge the Mehbooba and form the government with the support of BJP", said Ghulam, adding that political parties are not made behind close doors but with the support of people.
If a new political party on the lines planned emerges on the political landscape of Jammu and Kashmir and forms the government with the help of New Delhi, it will be rather interesting to see how the new Bakshi will help the region to come out of the current political bedlam.