• Ashu Bisht

Kashmir in India And Its Political Scenario

Kashmir in India, in the past few weeks several conspiracy theories have been circulated in the Kashmir Valley due to the odd deployment of security forces in the Kashmir Valley, evoking memories of the events that led the abolition of Article 370 and Article 35A of the Indian Constitution.

There were rumours of granting formal statehood only to the Jammu region and retaining UT status for the Kashmir Valley. Other rumours suggested creating a new administrative region after the union of South Kashmir with Jammu and so on. But in the end, all these rumors turned out to be precisely rumors only.

At first , the period after the abolition of Article 370 and 35a of the Constitution of India was not exactly a period of political stagnation. The twin regions of the Jammu and Kashmir in India both in fact, saw a mini-assembly of sorts in the form of DDC elections, for which people turned up in large numbers, even in militancy-affected areas like South Kashmir, and areas where elections were fought indirectly through the party symbols.

The DDC elections have primarily shown that people in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir still have interest in electoral politics. Several political analysts and so-called "Kashmir specialists" had envisaged that the people of the Kashmir in India would no longer have confidence in future elections to be held after the abolition of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution of India.

However, the people of Jammu and Kashmir in India, including those in the Kashmir Valley proved the prediction of the political analysts wrong and surprised everyone by taking part in the DDC elections in large numbers. However, it is significant to reveal here that these DDC elections were not in any form a referendum or an approval by the people of Jammu and Kashmir to abrogate Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution of India.

These DDC elections were held on sub-local issues like water, electricity and roads. But, the elections enabled the UT administration and the policy makers in Delhi to estimate the mood of the people of Jammu and Kashmir who made it very clear that they wanted a solution to their problems through peaceful and democratic means.

The DDC elections also gave policy makers an insight into the political positioning of both the old and new political forces, particularly in the Kashmir in India. Although the elections were not officially contested with party symbols, the choice of candidates unofficially echoed the position of the parties in the two regions of the Jammu and Kashmir Valley. The DDC results made it clear that the old political system still continues to be the most preferred by the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The PAGD or also called "Gupkar Alliance", an merger of many national and Kashmir centric political parties including the J&K National Conference led by Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah and PDP led by Mehbooba Mufti, won over 100 seats but mainly in Kashmir valley while BJP emerged as the largest political party as it won mainly in Jammu region.

Moreover, the Modi Government is believed to be keen on ending the process of changing the political scenario of Jammu and Kashmir in India, which it started on August 5, 2019, when it repealed Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution of India, bifurcating the state and demoting the status of J&K to one UT.

All in all, it is clear that change is in the air and the resume of the political process in Jammu and Kashmir is imminent, which will augur well for the people of UT, who are grappling with economic devastation, political instability and the ill effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The new political structure will initiate the necessary legislative and development process in a state that has been run by civil servants for the last two years and this will bring a positive change in the lives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in India.

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