By: Afaq Bhat
Srinagar: National Conference senior leaders, Devender Singh Rana and Surjeet Singh Salathia saying goodbye to the “Grand Old Party” of Jammu and Kashmir is a big setback for the NC.
According to political observers the resignation of both the leaders would weaken the National Conference in Jammu region. Despite BJP winning maximum assembly seats in Jammu region in 2014 assembly elections, Rana managed to hold his ground in Nagrota and won the seat.
Soon after both the leaders resigned, the National Conference leadership said that it had accepted the resignation of party’s provincial president for Jammu Devender Singh Rana, and Surjit Singh Slathia.
It’s in place to mention here that rumours about Rana and Slathia planning to quit the National Conference were making rounds in the political circles for the past many days. Rana had met NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah and party vice-president Omar Abdullah recently but had dropped a hint that he may quit the party by saying, “I am still in the National Conference.”
Rana, a prominent face in Jammu, was also the political advisor of former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah during his tenure. Rana is a three time former MLA from Nagrota constituency of Jammu.
An analyst while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “After august 5, 2019—when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K’s special status and divided it into two union territories—political equations in J&K have changed drastically. Kashmir based parties are facing an uphill task to remain relevant. It’s not National Conference only that’s facing the crisis the Peoples Democratic Party is also sailing in the same boat. Both the parties have ruled J&K in the past but now things don’t look easy.”
He said, “The delimitation exercise (process of redrawing assembly and parliamentary constituencies) is on and once it’s completed, Jammu and Kashmir regions will have almost equal number of assembly seats. So it won’t be an easy task for any Kashmir based party to form a government on its own. Whenever, the elections are held in J&K, politicians of both the regions i.e. Jammu and Kashmir will have to seek the support of each other to form the government.”
A politician said, “We can expect many more big political developments in future as there is every possibility about the delimitation exercise getting completed by the year end and the assembly elections in J&K being held early next year. There could be many more surprises in the offing. The politics in J&K has changed and it seems the traditional parties in Kashmir will have to face many challenges to keep their flock together.”