The results of the 2014 parliamentary election from Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the Valley, have shocked J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to the core. The way he has reacted, though again on Twitter and New Delhi-based television channels, suggest that Omar Abdullah never expected that people (even when a small number voted) would punish him and his party for his policies and non-performance so severely that the National Conference and the Congress, which have invariably been in power in the state, would be almost wiped out, not wining even a single seat.
Perhaps, Omar Abdullah and his father, the latter having no qualms in describing Kashmiris as maha chor, thought that public memory was short, and no matter what the duo says and does, the masses would keep voting for them. It does not seem to have crossed their minds that bluffing and brazening it out at poll times no longer works in Kashmir.
Again, the Chief Minister’s “process of introspection,” which he has started in the virtual world of Twitter and emails is again misconceived and ill-timed, mostly to appease his cyber-followers in metropolitan cities rather than the people of the Valley, particularly those who vote. It seems that Abdullah Junior is ignorant of the fact that people who have access to the internet in Kashmir generally do not vote. And the people who voted, and defeated, candidates of the ruling combine hail from Kangan, Gandarbal, Chare-e-Sharief, Noorabad, and many more such areas where the twitterati are a minuscule minority. For most of them, firstname.lastname@example.org would make no sense. They know Gupkar Road as the Valley’s only pothole-free road – one that does not get damaged by minor showers and moderate snow.
Abdullah’s claim that the NC’s severe drubbing was the price it had to pay for Afzal Guru’s execution and the 2010 killings is also a gimmick which people here have contemptuously dismissed. For them, Omar Abdullah’s political career replete with instances of compromising the interests of the people of the state for the sake of power. He continued to be a junior minister in the earlier NDA government despite the Gujarat pogrom, and spoke out against it only after the BJP failed to return to power. And instead of expressing resentment against New Delhi at the time of Guru’s execution he clamped down on the people of Kashmir.
Despite being elected by the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah acted as New Delhi’s representative in the Valley, and has now paid the price for that. Attempts to “reach out” to the masses through email, to understand what went wrong, is akin to locking the doors when the horses have already bolted.