With by-elections to two parliamentary constituencies round the corner, Kashmir’s mainstream political parties People’s Democratic Party, National Conference (together with the congress) are witnessing a sort of turmoil. While the rift between the PDP and NC on one side, and Congress and BJP on the other have been there for long, however, these elections have prompted and provoked a slanderous tirade within the mainstream camp – NC-Congress combine targeting PDP-BJP and vice-versa. Needless to say that for the general public here, it is very amusing to see these parties hunting each other down!
Without going into the morality of who is doing what to whom, it goes without saying that none of the political parties are doing any good to the state and its people. Instead everybody seems so busy with their set of selfish politics that they have lost track of the general public good. Irrespective of how much and what is said about the common people and their interests, their honour and dignity being flagged as the main priority, fact of the matter remains that situation on the ground belies such assertions. No wonder that there is a widespread general despise for the mainstream politics and politicians here, which touches sort of climax during electioneering when people get to witness at length what is – “pot calling the kettle black”!
While the tumultuous situation in Kashmir wherein government itself seems in a huge disarray, brings uncertainly in the government’s working to fore, on the other hand the kind of sleazy politics that is on massive display these days is drawing people away with the brand of politics that characterizes the mainstream camp. Obviously when the separatist camp, which lies, as ever, in great disarray, has already left people dejected, the blame-game between the mainstream parties and leaders are only adding to the popular dejection. After all why should people be expected to have any faith in the people and the system which have repeatedly and continuously let them down? Why should they believe that this set of people will lead them out of the morass of conflict and developmental lag? Why should people heed any of politicians’ claims when both recent and remote history bears witness to public trust being bartered away for petty political gains by the latter?
Given the kind of politics that is at display here, both from mainstream as well as the separatist camps, it’s high time for the people to ask themselves some important questions. In fact a very important cue comes from a television advert some years back which showed a political leader coming to people seeking votes, and is asked by about his qualifications. So at a time when people are once again been approached for their vote, people can and they should start asserting their power to set the agenda for the political leaders of all hues to follow. And when one talks about assertion of people’s power, it doesn’t necessarily mean that people will have to be in violent agitation mode to do so. It can be done with far greater efficiency through nonviolent means of assertion if only people know how to organize themselves and use non-violent tactics to bring about a desired social and political change.
Going back to the cue provided by the television advert, people must realize their power - peoples’ power and thus not only determine but practically dictate what should be the agenda of each political group. Lying low like dumb-driven cattle helps none and history of past nearly three decades have proved it beyond any doubt. Therefore, instead of letting the political leaders have a field day without anybody questioning them for whatever they do, people must come out of their self-imposed hibernation and hold political leaders accountable.