Politicians, in the ‘mainstream’ space, look towards Delhi as their core constituency. This is a statement of the obvious. But Mehbooba Mufti’s statement, wherein she vigorously asserted that, “technically we are connected with India but we want to integrate with it emotionally” revalidates and reinforces this view and assessment. While the use of third person plural (We) in her statement is curious, it would be safe to assume that Mehbooba is not speaking for the people of Kashmir. She is speaking for herself and perhaps her party. The Chief Minister’s statement also undermines and undercuts her party’s pledge and commitment towards ‘self rule’- the central and cardinal pivot of the PDP’s manifesto. Taken together, proximity to Delhi and undercutting the party’s central axiom suggests that the real power in Jammu and Kashmir is Delhi and that party manifesto’s amount to basically nothing more than rhetorical flourishes. The ‘mainstream’ political space then is a denuded space and that of curtailed or circumscribed autonomy for ‘mainstream’ politicians. They can fiddle, tinker or even debate but only up to a point in a delimited sphere. This circumscribed political space creates the optical illusion of participation but real power, and the stuff of real politics, to repeat, lies elsewhere- in Delhi. In this sense then nothing really differentiates the major actors and players in the ‘mainstream’ political space. The duopolistic political competition in Kashmir revolves around votes sought on issues that touch people tangentially or the promise and delivery of patronage goods. All this is well understood in Kashmir but the question that arises is : why did Mehbooba deem it important to underscore allegiance to Delhi now? The answer may lie in the well springs of the 2016 uprising where serious doubts and aspersions may have been cast on the Government she leads and its inability to check and control the uprising. Given that Delhi, at least, in public, did not question her ability or undermined her by imposing Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir- a development that would have been beneficial to her mainstream opponents- Mehbooba might, by virtue of her statement, be offering gratitude to Delhi. If this would be true, then the PDP and the mainstream political class, in general reduces itself to a caricature where the politics of managerialism is elevated over real and substantive politics. While Delhi might be flattered by the compliment that Mehbooba has paid it, the tragic fact that remains is no one really appears to care for the hapless people of Kashmir. Caught in the tentacles of a conflict not of their making, Kashmiris then stand alone and abandoned to an uncertain fate.