Srinagar, July 24: The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in Jammu and Kashmir has put the political leaders, especially in the Valley, in a tightspot.
According to the Kashmir watchers, the politicians, who had come forward after the abrogation of J&K special status on August 5, 2019, to carry forward the political process are finding it difficult to manage. “The voices to complete the delimitation process in J&K are becoming shriller as the assembly polls cannot be held till the exercise is completed. Elections getting deferred in J&K UT have created a political vacuum,” an analyst told Precious Kashmir.
He said, “Elections getting delayed are helping traditional parties in a way. National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party have to do lot of work to make any impact again. Both these parties have to coin new slogans to tell the people that they still exist. So delay in revival of political process has provided these parties with an ample time to regroup. NC is slowly reappearing on the scene but the same cannot be said about the PDP.”
The analyst said that since August 5, 2019, many new faces have emerged in Kashmir. “These new comers need a chance to excel. But the outbreak of pandemic has brought all the activities to a grinding halt. They will have to wait at least for some more time,” he added.
An observer said, “No elections will be held in J&K till the delimitation exercise is completed. For things to move fast COVID-19 has to end. Life has to return to normal and it cannot happen till a vaccine comes or people develop the herd immunity.”
He said that everything at present is dependent on how the virus behaves. “It seems that New Delhi has also shelved the idea of putting Advisory Council in place in J&K. It could have helped in filling the political vacuum,” the observer added.
It may be recalled that when speculations were rife about Altaf Bukhari led Advisory Council being formed in the union territory, BJP J&K President Ravinder Raina had made it explicitly clear that no such council will be formed till the assembly elections are held.
“Many of us don’t see any Advisory Council being formed in the near future. The entire political process depends upon the completion of delimitation exercise. Till then the political parties in Kashmir will have to look for ways and means to remain relevant amidst the COVID threat,” the observer added.
He said, “The political leaders who have been released during the past few months too are sitting silently. At present most political parties barring a few have to do lot of ground work to once again make themselves visible.”