Assembly polls likely in April-May next year, new cabinet to have less than 10 ministers, CM to have advisory powers only, LG to take final call on all impt issues
Srinagar, Nov 02 (KNO): The revocation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of erstwhile state into two Union Territories (UTs) has left Jammu and Kashmir’s indigenous political parties “high and dry” with no poll plank available to them to woo people in the upcoming Assembly polls slated in April-May next year.
According to wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), protecting the J&K’s special status was the main poll plank of all the major political parties like National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Congress. Even as the top and middle-rung mainstream political leadership remains under detention since August 5, when Centre announced to scrap the Article 370 and announced bifurcation of State into two Union Territories (UTs).
A National Conference leader, candidly admitted that they have no poll plank to woo people into the party fold as Article 370 stands scrapped now. “There is no denying the fact that we have nothing to offer to the people. What is left is that we can only pitch for restoration of statehood to J&K. That’s what we can fight for, rest is gone,” he said, wishing not to be named.
He said opposing the Centre’s decision has no meaning as of now as J&K is a UT and Ladakh also. “Mere opposition can’t change the ground reality. As far the elections, for us polls are meaningless now as our leadership is under custody since past three months. Our tallest leader has been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA) by throttling the democracy,” the NC leader said. “Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah remains detained. These are testing times for NC and its cadre. We can only frame new strategy once our leadership is free.”
A PDP leader while expressing similar views said that the unilateral decision of Centre was aimed to make the Jammu and Kashmir’s indigenous parties irrelevant. “As of now we can’t reach out to people as we have nothing to offer them. Let us wait and see how things shape up. Our party chief Mehbooba Mufti is under detention, let the J&K administration free her first. We will sit and then chalk our future strategy,” he said told KNO, pleading anonymity.
Before the revocation of Article 370, the PDP chief in a rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Park in Srinagar had warned Centre of any tempering with the special status by stating that “any move to tinker with Article 370 would be like playing with the barood (explosives).
Congress party’s J&K unit blamed BJP of playing with the sentiments of people of J&K by taking unilateral decision of revoking the Article 370 and dividing the State into two UTs. “We were for keeping the flock together i.e. to keep all three regions part of a single State and that has been done away with by the BJP without taking anybody on board or consulting the stakeholders,” said a party leader, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “Even if there would be a new assembly, Chief Minister would have only advisory powers and all powers will lie with the Lieutenant Governor (LG). The role of mainstream parties has been squeezed.”
Recently, in an order issued here, after 70 years, the Legislative Council was abolished. Sources said that the new assembly will be formed after the elections next year in April-May after which the new cabinet will have only nine to ten ministers and a chief minister. “But all the important decisions will be taken by the Lieutenant Governor Girish Chander Murmu who took on October 31,” sources in the administration said.