‘Bloody Elections’, a Wakeup call !

 

National conference President and three time Chief Minster Dr. Farooq Abdullah has won the Srinagar Parliamentary seat defeating his closet rival of Peoples Democratic Party Nazir Ahamd Khan by nearly ten thousand votes in the by-polls held last Sunday. These elections have become an important part of the history of Jammu and Kashmir in many ways. This was the first election in the history of the state which Dr. Farooq himself termed as ‘the bloodiest election ever’ in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. This would again be remembered in the state history for recording the lowest ever poll percentage with more than 20 polling booths recording zero percentage. These elections had many things similar to those held in 1989, when the poll percentage had gone down to nearly eight while the candidate from Srinagar constituency went to parliament unopposed as nobody dared to jump into the fray. During those days, the militancy that had just erupted in the valley was dominant on the scene and holding elections under the shadow of gun was a herculean task. However, unlike 1989, this time, it was the common Kashmiri youngster who came out to thwart the process and many even lost lives in the process.

What happened in the election of April 9 raised more questions.  Resisting the elections at this juncture is a big political statement that needs to be not only acknowledged but also addressed. The anger shown by the young boys during the last Sunday’s polls has forced government to defer the Anantnag elections which itself is an indication that the situation on the ground is extremely grim. The bloody agitation on the polling day is also a clarion call for New Delhi, which has been terming the high turnout elections from 2002 to 2014 as a referendum in favour for India, that it is time to wake up and see the situation beyond the prism of law and order .

These elections have also thrown up a huge challenge to mainstream political parties also who could be the worst circumstantial casualty of the growing hostile environment in the valley.

With the failure of the electoral process, the theory that people only elect their representatives for the purpose of governance has also been debunked. This is evident from the fact that majority of the mainstream parties were not able to campaign openly as they used to in past.

The message that Jammu and Kashmir is a law and order issue has eventually lost its essence. Today’s generation in Kashmir does not shy away from saying “I am not Indian” and is no way ready to be buckled down by gun or a lathi . The Scenario has changed and the writing on the wall is evident. The political establishment in Delhi and in J&K must realize that election boycott that forces Delhi to postpone voting is a huge political statement about its strength in Kashmir and that can hardly be ignored.