It is now become a routine that just prior to the election time political parties come out with some catchy slogans to get attention of the people. Right from 1947 people have been fooled with newer slogans by various political leaders. The saying that the “Democracy is a balloon filled with hot air. Fools watch it, when it rises and the clever pick their pockets”, appropriately fits Kashmir elections. This game of fooling each other has been now going on for quite some time. Both the leaders and the people know that they are fooling each but they still carry on the drama just for their own vested interests. Everyone knows that the mainstream leaders have neither the intention nor the power to do anything about the basic political problem in Kashmir. These leaders are simply fighting each other to gain the power and the benefits associated with it. They know that ultimately they have to toe the line drawn by their masters in Delhi. It is amusing to hear some leaders say that they will get the basic issue of Kashmir resolved if they come to power. In the same breath they claim that Kashmir cannot go out of India as it is an integral part. How can they reconcile the two contradictory statements? Then what is the resolution that will fulfil the basic aspirations of the Kashmiris without going out of India in view of 65 years bad experience?
Another aspect is the call for boycott given by the parties claiming to be struggling for the basic rights of Kashmiris. This very much suits the ruling parties as in the absence people coming out to vote in large numbers, they can easily rig the elections and get their own people elected. Again there is a catch. When the people genuinely and honestly want to come out and vote to elect their own representatives, the elections are again rigged. This is what happened in 1987. The elected representatives were shown to have lost and were jailed. No body honestly believes in the veracity and impartiality of these elections. This is in reality an exercise to continue the mainstream set up by hook or by crook regardless of peoples’ following.
The most humorous and amusing is the discovery made by the present head of the government regarding the basic aspirations of Kashmiris. He has discovered these truths only towards the end of his tenure. After having toed the Delhi’s line meekly for almost 5 years, he is now challenging it regarding various basic issues. All these years he looked like a joker trying to please everyone. On one hand he appeared a champion of peoples’ basic rights by demanding revocation of the draconian legislation AFSPA while on the other hand he ate a humble pie when Delhi refused to budge. He did not have the courage to revoke his own law, the Disturbed Areas Act which would have let AFSPA die its own death. Of course, he would have lost the chair and the power and goodies associated with it.
Earlier these mainstream leaders were claiming that the state elections are not for the resolution of the basic problem but simply to ensure good governance to take care of day to day affairs of the common people. Now, they have suddenly discovered that these elections can enable them to solve the basic political problem and get the people some relief from the oppressive situation. The changeover is simply because of their total failure to deliver on the governance front. Having miserably failed to provide Bijli, Panni and Saddak, they do not have the courage to face the electorate with the same slogan! People of course know that these leaders have failed to provide them the basic necessities especially the power which has seen the worst situation in last few decades. How can they now solve the basic issue that too with the toeing of the Delhi line of Kashmir being an integral part of India? People may still go and vote and create another façade of a democratic peoples’ government with only the change of faces of the puppets on Delhi’s strings. The theatre of the absurd would continue as per the past practice. There does not seem any immediate escape from this drama and we may be destined to carry it on for some time. One does not see any light at the end of the tunnel due to the continuing mistrust between the two neighbouring countries totally embroiled in their own problems of senseless violence and the worst form of corruption!