The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has been bustling with activity ever since the irrelevant coterie of political leaders from the valley came together to fulfil the postulates of the much-touted Gupkar Declaration under an umbrella organisation called the ‘People’s Alliance’. From the People’s Alliance distancing itself from the PDP’s now rather explicitly separatist-activism, to the tricolour being hoisted by BJP workers at the PDP office, not to mention a sort of precursor to some sort of mass-resignation campaign from the PDP, the past two days have been quite eventful in the Union Territory.
One statement by the PDP supremo Mehbooba Mufti pertaining to the Indian National Flag and constitution has ensured that her identity as a proponent of separatism is revealed. Mehbooba Mufti has single-handedly ensured that the ‘Peoples Alliance’, which was supposed to ‘fight’ for the restoration of Article 370 and Kashmir’s special status, falls apart soon after its inception. Meanwhile, the remaining irrelevant political leaders of the Kashmir valley seem to have no problem with Mehbooba Mufti retiring from active politics voluntarily.
The National Conference (NC) of the Abdullahs has in no uncertain terms launched a scathing attack against Mehbooba Mufti for her remarks on the tricolour and India’s constitution. This has gone a long way in exposing the deep fault lines in the composition of the People’s Alliance, where leaders cannot stand the sight of each other for a few moments, leave alone fight hand-in-hand for the restoration of Kashmir’s special status. Slamming Mehbooba Mufti, NC leader Devender Rana said ‘the nation’s sovereignty and integrity are supreme’.“Jammu-based NC leaders raised concern over Mehbooba Mufti’s remarks in our meeting with Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah. They have assured us that no statement will be made by any Gupkar Alliance leader that harms the nation’s interests,” Rana told India Today.
Earlier, former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah had said that while the Gupkar Alliance was “anti-BJP”, it was not “anti-national”. There is also growing discontent among the PDP ranks for Mehbooba Mufti’s borderline seditious tone, which is why three senior PDP leaders from Jammu tendered their resignations Monday, saying that such remarks by Mufti had hurt “patriotic sentiments”. In their two-page resignation letter to the party president, PDP MP T S Bajwa, founding member and former general secretary Ved Mahajan, and former state secretary Hussain A Waffa wrote that they were “feeling quite uncomfortable over some of her actions and undesirable utterances, especially those which hurt patriotic sentiments,” the Indian Express reported.
“Some of the actions and utterances are unpardonable and unforgettable by the people for the party to emerge out and move in a direction of its fundamental approach and identity, besides regaining its image as a political alternative… In view of this, we feel uncomfortable and suffocated in the party, forcing us to take a difficult decision of leaving the party,” the trio wrote.
Meanwhile, BJP workers in Jammu stormed the PDP office and along with chants of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, hoisted the tricolour, in an open signal to Mehbooba and her party that anti-national shenanigans would now be intolerable in the valley. The Jammu and Kashmir police detained three BJP workers, Mir Basharat, Mir Ishfaq and Akhtar Khan. In a tweet, Mir Basharat said, “This is just the beginning, if not this time but I challenge myself that in next attempt I will glorify the National Flag on the heights of the big clock at Ghanta Ghar, Lal Chowk (Srinagar).”
— Mir Basharat ® (@BasharatMir16) October 26, 2020
The recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir stand as a testimony as to how post the abrogation of Article 370, the space for sedition and anti-India chatter has drastically shrunk, with every statement of the irrelevant political leaders being judged by their own party workers and people at large. The unity and strength of the People’s Alliance, meanwhile, has been lain bare for all to see. As of now, six political parties – NC, PDP, People’s Conference, People’s Movement, CPI(M) and Awami National Conference (ANC) are a part of the People’s Alliance, even as the Congress quivers at the very thought of joining the special status gang.