The former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah, said on Thursday that for normalcy and peace to be restored in the restive region, Kashmir should be placed under governor’s rule and the state assembly put under suspended animation.
While talking to the media persons in Srinagar, the leader of National Conference (NC) took potshot at the ruling alliance of the PDP-BJP, calling their “Agenda of Alliance” as lacking a political agenda. He accused both the parties of forging such a document with a purpose to attain power.
“The alleged ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ has been torn to shreds and debunked by the BJP. As far as the PDP is concerned, they gave the ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ a discreet burial when Mufti Sahab passed away,” said Abdullah.
Never one to mince words about anything let alone about politics, Abdullah, when asked what he thought about a supposed plan to replace Mehbooba Mufti with a chief minister from the BJP, he quipped in his characteristic style: “Changing horses midway won’t help. The Government has become extremely unpopular and has lost the faith and support of the people – as is evident with every passing day and as seen a couple of days ago when female attendees at a Government organized event at SKICC refused to be addressed by the CM and stormed out of the event raising slogan,” he said.
When pressed by reporters to explain what he meant by governor’s rule being the only plausible option, he clarified it further: “The imposition of Governor’s rule is not an ideal solution but in the present circumstances where the State is being pushed back to the uncertainty and turmoil of the early 90s, it is the only plausible option. This is for the first time in almost three decades that an election had to be cancelled and we are down from a 26% turnout to a 7% turnout – thanks to this Government’s policies and failure. The imposition of Governor’s rule would calm tempers and also make the Administration to be perceived as politically neutral – allowing basic governance to be restored,” said Abdullah.
He felt the uncertainty at the political level was having an effect on the overall working of the state bureaucracy. “It is in a state of disarray and dismay owing to mishandling and unprecedented impropriety by the PDP-BJP Government. Juniors are being promoted over seniors and key departments are being run in an ad-hoc and chaotic manner. The result is a complete failure on the governance front in addition to a failure on the political front. There is no sign of development. The only sign of the government is these ribbon-cutting photo-opportunities of the Chief Minister inaugurating projects of the previous Government in the State,” he said.
He regretted the decision to drop all nominees to the J&K High Court from Kashmir while all the three vacancies were filled by nominees from Jammu. “We have always and will always support equal rights and treatment of all the regions of the State. Discriminating against one region and favouring another region for political reasons is shameful and will further add to the sense of alienation and discrimination in Kashmir. The Government is playing with fire and will be responsible for further widening the already unprecedented chasm between the two regions. When you rob people of Kashmir of due representation and a right to equality – in judiciary and elsewhere – you are the ones pushing them against the wall and leaving them with no option but to agitate and protest. There should be no discrimination. Our lawyers have rendered their services in unimaginable circumstances and risked their lives to serve the judiciary – such discrimination against them is tragic and very sad,” he said.
Linking the political instability in Kashmir with an unwillingness of New Delhi to begin political discussions with Hurriyat and Pakistan, he said an open-ended, unconditional and uninterruptable dialogue with Pakistan and with stakeholders in Kashmir was the only way forward to deal with the Kashmir issue. “New Delhi has to talk to Pakistan and also initiate talks with various stakeholders in Kashmir without any restrictions and conditions. There is no other option. The sooner New Delhi does this the better it is for the State and the entire region. My apprehension is that the damage done would be far too much to handle and reverse by the time such a political initiative is taken. There should be no further delay,” said Abdullah.