Srinagar: When Peoples Democratic Party burst on the scene in 2002, it straightway became part of a government. Its tally was 16, somewhat similar to that of National Conference in 15+2 mandate in the latest poll results.
Incidentally, the National Conference had identical numbers in 2002 as PDP has now—28—with a difference that former’s tally has seen steep fall while latter’s has a gradual rise.
Consequently, the party founded by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was moved away from the Treasury Benches by the PDP with the support of the Congress together with some independents.
Down the line in twelve years, the PDP has described the NC’s present tally as rejection by public, raising an all important question: How are almost similar numbers oppositely different 12 years apart?
“It is because NC had come down from 60 (57 actually) to 28 seats. It was rejected more thoroughly and the PDP was emerging force. The PDP was new force that had arrived and the people had voted for change then and they have voted for the change now,” PDP chief spokesman and sitting MLC Nayeem Akhtar told Kashmir Reader when asked about the difference in the numbers.
Soon after NC moved Raj Bhawan to make a formal “unconditional” support to PDP on Tuesday, Akhtar had said that the PDP will take a call about it at Political Affairs Committee (PAC) but had at the same time insisted that the support lenders have been rejected by people who wanted change.
“The timing of the PAC meeting has not been fixed as yet,” Nayeem said. The PAC is the highest decision making body of the PDP, the single largest party with 28 MLAs in the state.
“(NC’s offer) is not what people want. It seems that they want entry through back door. It is not in tune with the mandate people have given us,” he added.
When Kashmir Reader posed a similar question to the National Conference, its General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar said: “There is some problem with Nayeem Akhtar. He should get himself first checked by some good Physician.”
The NC’s support, Sagar said, was not about rejection or acceptance but “it’s about larger public interest keeping in view regional sentiments and aspiration of people.”
“We are not fond of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed (PDP patron) or Nayeem Akhtar’s faces but our support is purely in respect to larger public aspirations. If they are under this impression, they are mistaken and they should come out of it.”
Sagar asked the PDP to introspect overall verdict before making statements about the change.
“Where do they stand? They have already lost eight out of 21 seats they had in 2008. Had there been no floods in Srinagar, their tally would have been 14. They have already lost south Kashmir which they used to claim as party’s bastion. They have lost five seats alone in Anantnag, one in Kulgam. Even Madni sahib (Deputy Speaker Sartaj Madni) has lost (from Devsar), they has lost Bandipora and Beerwah also. They should be thankful to floods which have shored up the party.”
He said National Conference has vote share of more than ten lakhs and talks of change “fall flat before the stats.”
“Had there been change, PDP would not have lost those five seats. They should also check winning margin in Pampora, Pulwama and Wachi which is around 1000 or 11000. They seem to be harboring some mistaken belief.”
Had fortunes not favoured the PDP, Sagar said, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed would have never become Chief Minister.
“It is about political fortunes of one political party and it is a beauty of democracy. Sometimes people choose you and sometime they simply don’t. Mufti Sayeed lost from Bijbhera four times at the hands of Gani Veeri. That doesn’t mean Mufti’s chapter was closed and he shouldn’t have become the Chief Minister. It about who represents the sentiments of people.”
The National Conference, once invincible on political turf of the Jammu and Kashmir has seen decline in its seat tally from 57 in 1996 to just 15 in 2014.
“We know what type of party and people they are. Our support is just in respect of the peoples aspirations of J&K,” Sagar added.