Srinagar: More than 16 months after the 2016 public uprising erupted, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has started an “outreach” programme to reconnect with political workers and people on the ground. A senior legislator of the PDP, who spoke to Kashmir Reader with the request that he not be named, said that the decision to reach out to party workers and supporters was taken during a meeting of the party’s MLAs and MLCs ten days ago.
“Mainstream political activities were entirely comatose in 2016 due to strikes, curfews and widespread violence,” the legislator said. “Till July 2017, things remained disturbed due to the bad law and order situation and the BJP’s efforts to abrogate Article 35A. Now the situation has started improving and things have started getting settled. We have decided that Madam (Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti) should meet people at the district headquarters and try to reconnect with the party worker, and also with the people, by addressing their problems.”
The legislator said that party MLAs and MLCs reached a consensus on this in a meeting held ten days ago. “During the meeting, the chief minister took feedback from the ministers. She also sought a report card of their activities,” the legislator said. “During the meeting it was decided that the chief minister will go and meet political workers and people on the ground to listen to their grievances.”
An official who works in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said that the government will increase its presence on the ground by holding outreach programmes in all the ten districts of Kashmir Valley. “Everybody knows, the government could not reach people in 2016. There was a wide gap. The public outreach programme will strengthen the state government’s activities, which will help in regaining legitimacy on the ground,” the official said.
The official said that the chief minister will listen to grievances of people but cases related to political violence will not be touched.
The first public outreach programme was kickstarted on September 18 when the chief minister visited the militancy-hit district of Pulwama and met people there. According to the government, she heard 1,500 delegations and held face-to-face interactions and in many cases issued on-spot directions for the redress of grievances.
She made a similar visit to the border area of Tangdhar where she held a public durbar and talked to local people.
The official said that during these day-long interactions, the CM took feedback on the district administration from local people and political workers.
The people Mehbooba met in Pulwama and Tangdhar mainly complained about problems related to drinking water, roads, health facilities, sports facilities, etc, the official said.
On Sunday, Mehbooba went to Kupawara for a two-day visit to listen to the grievances of people and talk with political workers, the official said.