By: Afaq Bhat
Srinagar: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla inaugurating the Parliamentary Outreach Programme for the empowerment of Panchayati Raj institutions here on Tuesday is a hint that the process has commenced to create an environment for holding assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
After attending the programme National Conference president and former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah announced that his party is preparing for the elections and the NC will sweep the polls whenever these are held. He even regretted his party not participating in Panchayat elections.
A Kashmir watcher said, “It appears that the ball has been set rolling to make the atmosphere conducive for holding assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. Top political leaders from across the Union Territory participating in the programme is an indication that New Delhi wants to involve the politicians to restart the political process in the newly carved out Union Territory.”
He said, “The delimitation process will get completed in coming months and once the exercise is over, polls will be announced. Even Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has dropped enough hints about the assembly polls being in offing in Jammu and Kashmir.”
An analyst said, “Dr Farooq Abdullah regretting his party not taking part in Panchayat elections is an indication that the National Conference is gearing up to become a part of the new political system in Jammu and Kashmir.”
He said, “Politicians during the past three years have realized that power is mandatory for any party to survive and staying away from any democratic process won’t help their cause.”
The analyst said that once the delimitation exercise is over Jammu and Kashmir regions will have almost equal number of assembly seats and forming the government won’t be an easy task for any party. “Post August 5, 2019, the political scenario in J&K has changed drastically and new permutations and combinations have come to fore. Traditional political leaders will have to change their way of politics,” he added.
An observer said, “If the COVID-19 subsides by the year end, political activities will be at peak. We could have an elected government in place in J&K by next year. But the question is will J & K regain its statehood back before the assembly elections are held or the political parties will make it an election plank to fight the polls. There is every possibility about the election related activities gaining momentum in the coming days and politicians coming into the limelight again.”