Srinagar: Following abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, most of the mainstream political personalities remained in jail for months, including former chief ministers like Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah.
When the curbs were lifted, the mainstream political parties like National Conference, PDP, JK Congress and Peoples Conference led by Sajad Lone, tried to resume their political activities and participated in the suddenly announced DDC elections.
Though after the abrogation of Article 370, political scenarios demanded a new political posturing from all these mainstream political parties, but soon their Gupkar Declaration became PAGD, a political alliance to fight for the restoration of special status.
Manzoor Anjum, who is a senior local editor in Kashmir, said: “Soon after the DDC elections, Omar Abdullah started distancing himself from the PAGD, especially from the statements of Mehbooba Mufti. Omar is confident that if Assembly elections are held, his party, the National Conference, by its performance in the DDC elections, will win the maximum seats even from the Jammu region.”
With Assembly elections not in sight, the National Conference has already started a barrage of criticism against the Central government and the BJP. PDP and Mehbooba Mufti have already said that they stand for the restoration of Article 370 and have no interest in any elections. Has the present policies of the BJP pushed these political forces in Jammu and Kashmir to the fringes is the question being asked in media circles, The BJP leadership is saying that they are fossils and would be replaced by the young leadership of Jammu and Kashmir which will emerge from the grassroots. Sajad Lone and his party the Peoples’ Conference recently joined the PDP and NC in sharp criticism of the J&K administration and have claimed that Lt Governor Manoj Sinha is just presenting a façade of normality in Kashmir by opening up the gardens and sponsoring cultural shows.
Earlier, both the NC and PDP have accused Sinha’s administration of being anti-people and not concerned about the issues being faced by the masses on the ground.
After coming out from the PAGD political platform, Sajad Lone was dubbed by his political opponents as a leader ready to participate in elections, along with Altaf Bukhari-led JK Apni Party, as he is being accused of being the “B” team of BJP. In fresh criticism of the J&K administration, Sajad Lone asked Manoj Sinha to move beyond the rhetoric and engage people in a sincere manner for coming out of the present conditions. “The leaders in a detailed meeting maintained that the woes of the common masses on the ground are mounting with each passing day and that the administration is only plunging them into the deep and dreadful cycle of perturbation,” Peoples Conference said in a statement issued to the media.