J& K Diary
The Parties, Congress and the National Congress want to fight the Assembly elections solo.
“The Congress has decided to contest all 87 seats in the forthcoming Assembly elections” announced All India Congress Committee’s (AICC) general secretary Ambika Soni on 20th July which ended their six-year partnership with the National Conference (NC) in Jammu-Kashmir (J&K) for the forthcoming Assembly elections scheduled to be held in the end of this year.
Congress and NC had fought Lok Sabha election together in J&K and both witnessed stunning defeat. Congress had lost on all seats of Jammu region and the same fate was witnessed by NC in Kashmir Valley. Historically, Kashmir Valley and Jammu region were considered to be strongholds of NC and Congress respectively. This time the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won all the three seats in the valley and BJP routed the congress on two seats in Jammu and one in Ladakh. This was the fate of these two parties when they fought election together. Mathematically worst can be expected if they go to elections alone.
“It was a mutual decision” said Omar after Congress had announced breaking of coalition first. “I did not announce it because I didn’t want to get into the game of one-upmanship” Omar told The Tribune, English daily.
To minimize humiliation (self felt), NC’s Chief Minister Omar tweeted; “I met Mrs Gandhi ten days ago & thanked her for all her support. I conveyed NC's decision to fight the elections alone.”
However, in a series of tweets posted soon after, Omar also said that the Congress should not try to “distort facts” by claiming the decision to split was theirs.
The cracks in the relations of the coalition partner were visible before the Lok Sabha elections, as leaders of both the parties openly blamed each other for non-cooperation.
For now, coalition is no more, therefore who decided first is an issue that carries no significance. The issue that holds relevance is the failure of the self propelled “youth politics” driven from the friendship of Rahul Gandhi and Omar Abdullah. One more notable thing is that, where both the parties have decided to go alone in the coming elections, they do have an agreement on running the government together.
On one hand NC and Congress have ended their coalition and on the other, both have agreed to stay together in the government. This is heights of opportunism and double standard!
If Congress is dissatisfied with policies or modus operandi of NC, why shouldn’t it come out of the government which has few months remaining? What sort of separation and togetherness are they indicating- Will one see a minister fighting against a minister of the same government? Infact what kind of issues they will raise against each other? It raises suspicion about their ‘so called separation’ before the assembly election in J&K.
Governments fight elections on their track record of development and handling of law and order in the state. When both parties have nothing other than corruption and unemployment to show during their rule- how can parting ways change the situation for both the ruling coalition partners?
People know who are responsible for their plights, at least for last five and half years. Infact after having run a full term government with the NC, how can Congress separate itself from the wrongdoings of the same?
Political parties need to know that they cannot fool the public for they are capable enough to recognising the difference between symbolic/opportunistic steps, and the ones that are seriously intended for public good.
For now, the decision of the parting away does not seem to change the fortune for both the NC and the Congress. Amit Shah’s management coupled with the track record of ruling coalition and the low esteem of their workers (after defeat in Lok Sabha) could further be disastrous for NC and Congress.
-Arvind (The writer is a researcher at J&K Study Centre, New Delhi)