WordForPeace.com Edit Desk
Jammu & Kashmir assembly polls are likely in October-November along with three other states where polls are due by that time. However, if we review the political atmosphere in J&K prior to the Assembly elections, the schedule of which is yet to be decided, we clearly see an increasing political disenchantment among the new Kashmiri generation. Part of the reason is the imprudent policies and discouraging performance of the regional political parties including the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) founded by Mufti Mohammed Saeed and NC (National Conference) founded as “All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference” by Sheikh Abdullah and Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas in 1932.
Recently, the NC leader Salman Ali Sagar said that “the ambivalent attitude of the incumbent administration towards the youth issues is of great concern to every right-thinking person”. He opined that people of south Kashmir are deeply pained due to the unbridled miseries unleashed on them by PDP-BJP combine, saying that Kashmiris are looking to National Conference to “liberate them from the unending psychological and mental trauma”. But he shied away from commenting on the role of his own party, much like other state parties, in creating this situation. In many cases, the government funds meant for the development of the state did not reach the real beneficiaries in Jammu & Kashmir. The tall claims and hollow promises made by the regional political parties, which fuel the fire of ‘soft separatism’ among the gullible youths in Jammu & Kashmir, do not stand to scrutiny. All this has resulted into an abysmally low turnout in the polls and constitutional pursuits of political activism.
If the Kashmiri youth, in large numbers, don’t share any sense of belonging towards the government today, it is the handiwork of the politics being peddled by the PDP and NC. They don’t keep in view that the youth of any society is one of the primary stakeholders in the process of national building. But, regrettably, the generation that stepped into their teens after 2015 didn’t see any positives from the regional political parties. The fire of soft separatism and political alienation that has beset the new generation is being fueled.
As a result, people in J&K are losing interest in polls and have developed an increasing disenchantment with the state political parties. In this grim situation, only a well-thought-out policy, skill development, employment and entrepreneurship initiatives can help the Kashmiri youths restore faith in polls and the system. Both the central government and the State government have to come up with an effective youth-oriented scheme.
The Election Commission of India has announced that Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held later this year, most likely in October-November. “Election Commission, under Article 324 of the Constitution and other extant laws/rules etc. have unanimously decided that holding of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir shall be considered later in this year,” the poll body said in a statement. It further says: “The Commission will keep on regularly and on real-time basis monitoring the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, taking inputs from all necessary quarters and after the conclusion of Amarnath Yatra will announce the election schedule for the conduct of assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir”.
The need of the hour requires both the center and state political parties to give a combined response to the challenges the state is facing particularly on its forthcoming assembly polls.