In comes the statement of the Co-founder of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that he is ready to join the Third Front which has already taken some shape in the state of Jammu and Kashmir under the leadership of Peoples Conference Leader Sajad Lone. This is a significant development which might pave way for the formation of new government in the state.
This development is in line with a change that is being witnessed in the political landscape of the State, and of the country at large. The change is about the emergence of new politicians and people who are ready to hold the reins of power. It is this change which has unsettled the seasoned politicians like Muzaffar Hussain Being to stay relevant. It shows his fear of losing the plot and desperation to retain some ground.
Actually majority of the politicians of Jammu and Kashmir are facing this existential crisis and that is why there is no consistency in their statements and the way they behave on the political arena of the state and the country. The decisions of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) and the PDP to boycott the Local Body and Panchayat elections is an indication of the existential crisis.
Boycotting these elections and fighting them though proxies and then deciding not to boycott the Assembly and Parliamentary Elections shows their desperation and confusion and the existential crisis. It shows that their decision to boycott the Local Body and Panchayat Elections was a kneejerk reaction and not a well thought out strategy, had it been they would have never fought these elections though proxies.
Then their decision of not boycotting the Assembly and Parliamentary Elections is a acknowledgment that their decision of boycotting the Local Body and Panchayat elections was an utter failure. Their stated purpose for boycotting these elections was the issue of Article 35-A of Indian Constitution and the ambiguous position of the Central Government.
The position of the Central Government has not changed a bit by the boycott, and it has not made the position public and the issue of Article 35-A is still intact. So, participation of the JKNC and the PDP in Assembly and Parliamentary elections again shows their desperation more to remain relevant than to gain power.
In politics the first thing a political party intends is to gain power and form government. For this great efforts are made to change public opinion in its favor. In case of the Jammu and Kashmir the main parties in the Kashmir Division of the State are not trying to gain power but instead their every move is to keep the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) away from the power. In politics it is a flawed strategy; it is a defensive tactic rather than a political master stroke. The BJP has gained much by the boycott of the PDP and the JKNC in the Kashmir division.
One can say that that the PDP and the JKNC Boycotted the Local Body and Panchayat Elections keeping in mind the Assembly and Parliamentary election. But in that case also the decision seems going off the track. The disconnect between the people and these parties seems widening with each passing day and the decision of boycotting the already held Local Body and ongoing Panchayat elections has not reversed the process, the gulf keeps on widening.
A fact about the political parties of the state is that the people of the state have been completely left out. Almost no leader of the PDP and the JKNC tries to reach out to them. The politics that is being played on the political turf of the state is not played considering the real problems that the people of the state face. Nay, it is played in the form of statements and counter statements of the politicians without addressing the basic issues of the people.
Instead to reach out to people the politicians play all their politics while sitting in their cozy homes while using twitter, facebook and other social media and other forms of media. That is the reason the same people who were ready to sacrifice their life for these politicians and parties are no more ready to vote for them.
The people are well aware that these politicians and parties are concerned about their own interests and nothing else. Their decisions of boycotting the Local Body and Panchayat elections and their subsequent decision of not boycotting the Assembly and Parliamentary election are all viewed with this prism of the concern for the personal and party interests and apathetic attitude towards the larger interests of the people.
The result of all this, it is reiterated, is the gulf between the people and the two main parties of the Kashmir Division of the state is ever greater today. The inability of the mainstream politicians, especially those belonging to the PDP and JKNC, to reach out to the people is making the prospects for any future connect bleak. The mileage that these parties tried to gain from the issue of Article 35-A failed to accrue and all this has increased the desperation of these parties and the politicians.
It is in this backdrop that the decision and statement of the Muzaffar Hussain Being can be viewed. His statement and decision gives an indication about the degree of confusion and desperation, insecurity and the existential crisis that is there in the mainstream politicians of Kashmir division in particular. When the co-founder of a party is ready to desert the party and join the Third Front the status of the common politicians can be well imagined.
If we relate this situation with the overall politics, if Muzaffar Hussain Being joins the Third Front and acquires a post of power in the government if that is formed it somewhere proves the elite theory of politics right, only the parties change and the politicians holding the reins of power remain more or less the same, half of the BJP is composed of the people who were previously congressmen. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.