Editorial:MP Abdullah with PM Modi
It does not matter how low the voter turnout remained and how disputed and blood-soaked the election for the Srinagar parliamentary seat turned out to be, the final outcome was that the opposition National Conference president and former Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah got elected for the Lok Sabha seat.
Within twenty days of his election to the parliament, he has begun his activities in the new avatar. On Tuesday, Dr Abdullah was spotted in New Delhi in a brief conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the explosive situation in Kashmir. There was no word from the PMO on the conversation but the NC spokesman informed the media that Abdullah prevailed upon the PM to take political initiatives in Kashmir and stop handling it as a law and order issue.
For the first time since 1996 when Abdullah returned to power after disputed assembly elections were held in Kashmir following a prolonged central rule, it was perhaps for the first time that he was not holding a public office for a more than two years. Abdullah was humiliatingly defeated on the same Srinagar seat in 2014 general elections by Tariq Qarra, then a PDP leader. It is another matter of political travesty that Qarra, now in Congress, campaigned for Abdullah.
During and after the elections, Farooq was quite critical of the PDP-BJP alliance and exhausted his entire energy on disparaging Modi and his ‘anti-Muslim and anti-Kashmiri agenda’. He sought votes to put brakes on Modi’s ‘sinister designs’ in Kashmir as he ridiculed the ruling PDP for opening floodgates for the ingress of Hindutva elements in Kashmir.
Now, three weeks after his election he is in the power corridors of New Delhi, obliquely seeking his role in the emerging situation in Kashmir. Farooq Abdullah is one pro-India politician in Kashmir who has realized the fact, long before, that management of Kashmir is a national project directly handled by New Delhi and the local leadership has negligible role in it. He says it privately as well as in public forums. He has the bitterest experience when in 1984 he was shown exit and his party was split diametrically.
In 1989, he was forced to put in his papers and in 2000, the autonomy resolution passed by his legislators with a two thirds majority was humiliatingly consigned to waste bin. After all these experiences, Abdullah and his party have not given up the struggle to regain the clutches of power.
The tone and tenor of Farooq Abdullah’s rhetoric is changing since the elections were over. Last month, he was declaring the stone-throwers as true ‘Kashmiri nationalists’, praising youngsters who have set out for the goal of azaadi and talking about Kashmiris urge for the resolution of the political problem. A few weeks later, while in Jammu he categorized stone-throwers as genuine as well as ‘paid agents’. Now, all of a sudden he is spotted with Prime Minister Modi, who was till recently the main villain of the newest Kashmir imbroglio. Whatever way this meeting is analysed, it is not escaping the public interest.