The Spring Season of Election has yet again arrived. ‘Spring’ in a sense is a synonymous to fruitfulness. A season in which the nature and the environment undergoes a change, a spurt and a new start. This time though it’s on a miniature scale after the monolithic Lok Sabha elections that has definitely given a new hope to the people in form of a new government. The upcoming state elections assume even more importance for three reasons. Firstly,these elections though will be shaped by regional parameters will also be a reflection of new government’s acceptability and popularity.
Secondly,the elections are to be held in two of the most unstable states. One of them has failed to give a stable government for even a single term in its 14 years of history with the chief minister replaced 9 times and 3 time President rule. While the second state has always been in headlines due to special provisions.Thirdly,the two states also are a home to insurgencies and terrorism in form of Naxalism and Militancy respectively.
Of the two the elections in Kashmir is going to be interesting. In a sense this election would be a change of phase in the election history of this beautiful mountainous state. There are reasons to support this.
The past two months have been a turmoil for Kashmir. Repeated firing between India and Pakistan had made living tough. In some way the firing across the borders are also related to the elections. Pakistan was in serious mood to disturb the upcoming polls in the state by pumping in insurgents. It is a widely accepted fact in the world that India is the biggest supporter and follower of Democratic principles and form of government.
The west has always encouraged democracy across the nations sometimes though for personal gains or to counter the rebelling idealogies.In such a case a successful elections in Kashmir would yet again prove the alignment of Kashmiri people toward Indian Democracy which would further strengthen India’s claim on Kashmir without even fighting a war or a diplomatic tangle. It would also be a setback for the separatists who wanted to indulge themselves in talks with Pakistan. The Pakistani Military and Hardcore Islamic minds in Pakistan will definitely try to disturb the polls through all possible ways. The turnout percentage and a successful election would definitely show the acceptance of India in Kashmir.
The politics of Kashmir has largely been in control of the regional parties. Out of 87 assembly seats nearly 50% of the seats have been in the county of two major parties the National conference and PDP.The national parties like the INC only come to the third spot in the seats tally. For a state like Kashmir which assumes such a notable and important position in Foreign Affairs of the country there should be a important role of a national party in the state too.Luckily,this time BJP which does not have such a strong hold on the Kashmiri soil is trying for a big fight. The party has shifted its attention from already strong vote bank in Hindu dominated Jammu to Muslim dominated Kashmir Valley.
The repeated Visit by the PM and BJP president Amit Shah can definitely give the party a breakthrough in the state and land it in to the commanding position of government formation. It would be good in a way if a national party like BJP too has a say in the politics of J&K.The people in Kashmir valley and in Jammu have always been at loggerheads for some of the unsettled things. A party winning in both the regions could serve as a link.
A stable government in Kashmir is not only a necessity but also a compulsion if the region wants development. A stable government in the state can take strong measures to bring the afflicted state in to mainstream by discouraging insurgency and initiating peace process. There has been considerable improvement in voter turnout over the years.
The 2008 assembly elections recorded a 63% voter turnout while the 2011 panchayat elections about 82% amidst protests and non indulgence by the seperatists.The insurgency graph is also downwards. All this facts are signs of Kashmir that has progressive aspirations. Let us hope that Kashmiris create another record of a massive turnout and display their allegiance to the Indian Democracy.
By: Kumar Guarav