Farooq's flirtation with Vajpayee kills Kashmiris's love for NC
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
"The National Conference," says Abdul Hamid, contemptously,
"is a dead body that the Kashmiris have to carry on their
shoulders. The next election will give them an opportunity to bury it."
Hamid was, not so long ago, a staunch supporter of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah and his party, the NC. But now, like many of his contemperories, he has only an unhealthy hatred for the
party, especially after
its decision to abstain from voting
during the March 28 confidence motion
There is no life to the NC anymore, he repeats, it is finished.
The locals feel that by not voting against the BJP on
the D-day, the NC was indirectly supporting it. Traditionally, the
Sangh Parivar is seen as 'hostile to Kashmiri interests'. Ironically for Dr Abdullah, it was none
else than his late father, Sheikh Abdullah, who gave credibility to
that 'animosity'. Ever since 1947, the NC has fought the entry of the Sangh Parivar into the state. Sheikh always resisted moves to dilute or scrap the Article 370, which gives Kashmir a special
And now, his son has gone and supported the BJP government!
Many Kashmiris believe the BJP's stand on Article 370, the Babri Masjid and the Uniform Civil Code have only been
'put on the backburner and not given up'. As for the NC, they feel it is fast losing its local colours and becoming just another 'pro-India political party'.
"We just cannot face people. As such, the government has failed miserably to even provide basic facilities to the people -- now they have compounded it by Dr Farooq's hasty decision to align with the BJP," a party legislator
says, "I think the BJP has a hidden
agenda. When the time is ripe they
will scrap Article 370."
The common Kashmiri, for his part, says that
Dr Abdullah would do anything, even support the Rashtriya
Sangh, to stay glued to power. They point to popular MP Professor
Saifuddin Soz's sacking as party spokesman
after he protested the leadership's decision to offer 'value-based support' to the BJP. And Soz, unfortunately for Dr Abdullah, has the majority support among senior
NC leaders, who feel the decision will only strengthen their
opponents in the troubled state.
"Sheikh Abdullah would have preferred to sacrifice power to retain
the Kashmiris's support than join hands with the BJP," says Mehraj-UD-Din, a fruit seller in Lal Chowk.
Political observers, meanwhile, say that Dr Abdullah's decision
has, to a large extent, been shaped by the morbid fear
which former governor Jagmohan created in
him by dismissing his government in July 1984.
"Jagmohan's ghost still haunts him," said one observer.
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