Srinagar: In politics, there are no permanent friends or foes. The proverbial saying is being given practical demonstration, once again, as prospects of a seat in the Lok Sabha in Delhi once again draw near in Kashmir.
The founder member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Tariq Hameed Karra, will campaign for National Conference president Farooq Abdullah in the coming by-election for the Parliament seat of Srinagar. In the last parliamentary polls held in 2014 for the Srinagar seat, Karra fought against Abdullah and won.
Karra’s victory in 2014 was a ‘historic win’ for the PDP as it was the first time that the NC stalwart was defeated in his 40-year-long political career in his Srinagar bastion.
Soon after the win, Karra, who had won Assembly elections 2002 and had served as finance minister in the Mufti Muhammad Sayeed-led government, did not waste opportunity to attack the NC. He said that the NC was “playing politics over the blood of Kashmiris”.
On Friday, Karra told Kashmir Reader, “See, the fact is that I am not supporting Farooq Abdullah. I am supporting the National Conference on certain issues.”
Karra, who quit the PDP last year and then joined the Congress, explained, “My support to Farooq Abdullah is on the premise that he will campaign to prevent the right-wing Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and its ideological fountainhead RSS, and their facilitator PDP, from making inroads into Kashmir.”
Asked how he was living with his conflicting political choices, he said that for larger gains, small manoeuvers were necessary.
“The BJP-PDP alliance is indigestible to the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir,” Karra said. “If you look at the bigger canvas, my fight is to liberate Kashmir Valley, Chenab Valley, and Pir Panchal from Fascist forces, which include their collaborators and facilitators – the PDP. To fight the menace of BJP, RSS and PDP, small manoeuvers are necessary.”
Justifying his support to the Abdullah-led NC, Karra said that the situation in Kashmir has changed from what it was when he contested the last parliamentary polls. “My first election was against the NC. We fought that election to stop the BJP wave in Kashmir. However, soon after the elections, the menace of BJP and RSS surfaced. A situation emerged in which there was nothing left for me to do except tender my resignation,” he said.
Karra resigned from the Srinagar Lok Sabha in September last year. He said he was resigning in protest against the excesses committed by the government in repressing the civil uprising that followed the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani.
From being regarded as a hardliner with secessionist ideas, Kara has travelled a long way. Interacting with the media in 2008, Karra, then the finance minister, had vociferously advocated the idea of dual currency as a roadmap towards resolution of Kashmir. “If the European Union can have a common currency and if Indian currency can be used in Nepal, then a dual currency mechanism can also be adopted in Jammu and Kashmir. We have come up with a suggestion that is part of a vision towards resolution of the Kashmir dispute,” Karra had said.
When the PDP was founded, Karra was part of the PDP’s grand project of self-rule and the demilitarisation of both parts of Kashmir.
“I have not changed my political stance. There is only a small change in the strategy. This strategy is in the interest of Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir. I want resolution of the Kashmir issue. I want to facilitate the resolution of Kashmir issue,” Karra told Kashmir Reader on Friday.