Monday, September 23, 2019
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Election without an issue

B L Saraf

It may not be so elsewhere in the country ,but for the voter in Jammu and Kashmir this will, rather, be an issue less election . Election , we talk about is the one which is underway across the country , held to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha . That in turn will decide who and which political conglomerate will be our fate decider for the period of five years , hence forth .

An election without any issue may sound a contradiction in terms - akin to fight initiated without a cause . In any case elections in the country are, by and large , taken by the contestants only as a means to grab the political power , with no inclination to solve the problems faced by the voting public . So spurious issues are brought from nowhere just to hoodwink the gullible . Nonetheless some imaginary issues may be taken up by our politicians . But in essence thy will have parochial or a divisive contours which when taken up for a cumulative analysis would run contraindicative to one another .

For instance, In Kashmir Valley Articles 370 , 35 A , autonomy , self rule , human rights violations , achievable nation hood and host of others will be raked up by the contesting parties like N C , PDP and PC . In Jammu region , especially in plains “ hard nationalism “, complete merger of J&K with the Union , regional imbalance , plight of WP refuges and POK displaced will come up . Ladakh , particularly Leh area will resonate with political battle cry of ‘Union Territory Status and severance of all political and administrative connection with the Valley . People in Kargil , on the other hand , have entirely different set of demands and aspirations which , in no way , are in sync with those projected by Leh . Seen together every single item cancels the other , depending upon the place the issue has come up . With the result we won’t be having pan J & K issue to contest the election on . Effectively , that will render the election process an issueless exercise .

It is general trend that Parliamentary Elections do not enthuse voters as much as the one meant to constitute the state Assembly that forms state government does . People tend to see this election from a distance . Delhi from any corner in the country looks a farthest place . For J & K , Delhi Hanuz Dur Aast Seen from places in Kishtwar and Kupwara the distance becomes long and stretched so thin as to lessen the enthusiasm of a local voter in the exercise . For him a Parliamentary election is for the resolution of national issues only . That , however is not true . A national issue is nothing but a sum total of the local issues . Concerns of safety , security , bread and butter are as much local as indeed they are national issues .

This election , however , provides an opportunity to reflect upon how much we have lost in the past three decades of death and mayhem ,without getting anything positive in the bargain . J &K nowadays is discussed only as a war theater – a conflict zone - where successes or failures are calibrated by counting body bags . Number of human causalities defines normalcy and not complete silence of the gun ; the odor of gunpowder, not the spring fragrance - describes the ambience . All other indices of human happiness have been rendered irrelevant .

For us in J&K it is time to renew our covenant with democracy , of which election is an integral component . Election shows us a way to become relevant again , mark our presence and restore genuine parameters to judge the real human happiness. It is an encouraging sign that this time people in Kashmir seem to have shed diffidence ; young ,old and the middle-aged belonging to various segments of the society are in electoral fray . What gives hope is the fact that many young boys and girls are showing keen interest in mainstream politics , Be it a once IAS topper or an American educated Mayor of Srinagar City or businessmen /women ; all are actively participating in democratic process . They have been exhorting people in Kashmir to come out and cast vote and ensure right kind of people are elected . Well meaning people are asking the gun wielding actors to cease fire so that people can come out and vote without fear or favor .

There is no denying that most people in the state feel politically wronged . But as past experience has shown the bullet cannot right it . Ballot is the only instrument to be employed to correct the wrong .

There is one issue which needs wholehearted attention That is to bring people to the polling booths and help them cast vote as per their choice . They must realize that in the past the indifference to the elections has only helped the party interlopers ,interchangeable and the Aya Rams to be in the exploitative business and flourish without any accountability . It has not yielded any dividend for the common man .

For the Indian state it is moment of truth . While armed résistance has failed to change the course in the state , hard security measures adopted by the state too have not been a success story , in entirety . It may have softened the hard core terrorists but the sentiment still lingers in mind and psyche of some in the Valley . GOI must show a real concern and respond positively once the ongoing electoral business is over .

P S The internally displaced KP would love to take part in the voting process – only if he is freed from the clutches of ‘M ‘ Form

(The author is a Former Principal District & Sessions Judge. Feedback- [email protected] )

(Disclaimer: The views, observations and opinions expressed in above write up of Scoop News are strictly author's own. Scoop News does not take any onus or liability for the veracity, accuracy, validity, completeness, suitability of any of information in the above given write up. The information, facts or figures appearing in the write up in no way manifest the position, standpoint or stance of Scoop News and the Scoop News does not assume any encumbrance or answerability of the same. All disputes are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of competent Courts and Forums in Jammu City Only)

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