Peoples alliance for Gupkar declaration heading for quiet burial?
The alliance was formed post August 5, 2019 in the aftermath of Article 370 abrogation and downgrading of the state of J&K into a union territory
What previously were described as chinks in the Gupkar Alliance of like-minded mainstream political parties of J&K, have now become gaping holes in the political alliance.
The alliance was formed post August 5, 2019 in the aftermath of Article 370 abrogation and downgrading of the state of J&K into a union territory.
While other smaller political parties like the Awami National Conference (ANC) joined the alliance, its main constituents were the National Conference (NC) headed by former chief minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) headed by another former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti. Dr. Farooq Abdullah was designated as the head of the new amalgam called Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration.
It stood for restoration of Article 370, Article 35A and statehood for J&K. Seen politically diametrically opposed to each other, the coming together of the arch rivals, the NC and the PDP was described as closing ranks among Valley centric political parties for the ‘greater good of the people of J&K’.
After its creation, the People’s Conference (PC) headed by Sajad Lone was the first to leave the alliance. This was later followed by former minister, Javaid Mustafa Mir who represented the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM) formed by bureaucrat Shah Faesal who after sometime said he was parting ways with politics for good and rejoined his services.
It was generally expected that the NC and the PDP would forge some kind of a larger poll alliance to keep the BJP away from power when the Assembly elections are held in the union territory. What was not to be, was not to be. The divergent political interests aimed at securing political power by the NC and the PDP were destined to result in making the Gupkar Alliance irrelevant.
This appears to have happened much quicker than was otherwise expected. Some of the leaders of the two parties, including PDP youth leader Waheed Para and NC’s Salman Sagar publicly spoke against each other recently.
Speaking at the 24th foundation day of the PDP, Waheed Para said, “Those responsible for 1987 rigging, made SOG and Task Force, pushed youth to gun by depriving democratic agency over decades are begging for elections and alliance in New Delhi”.
He also said, “If power alone would have helped J&K then there would have not been deaths and killings in successive regimes”.
Reacting to Para’s statement, Salman Sagar of the NC said, “The statements made by PDP leaders during their party’s foundation day function clearly indicates that they want to break loose from the alliance.
“It was the PDP that brought BJP into the state by forming a ruling alliance with the BJP. We wanted to keep the alliance intact, but the statements made by the PDP leaders have forced us to expose them before the people”.
NC spokesman, Imran Nabi Dar said, “PDP must clear their stand, if they want to walk out from PAGD they can, but they must not keep people in confusion”
Reacting to the recent statement of rigging in elections made by Waheed Parra, Chief Spokesperson of NC, Tanveer Sadiq stated that if PDP does not want to be part of Gupkar alliance then doors are open for them. He also stated that they are in possession of plenty of evidence of wrongdoings of PDP but they are silent just because of the alliance.
This was followed by a statement from PDP spokesman, Suhail Bukhari which was obviously aimed at damage control and an attempt to prove that the PDP was not eager to break loose from the alliance, “The alliance was formed for restoring dignity and special status of people of Jammu and Kashmir. The constituents of the alliance stand by the agenda for which it was formed though there can be difference of opinion of leaders of the constituents, yet the leadership largely stands by unity and for restoration of special status of Jammu and Kashmir '', Bukhari said.
Bukhari’s statement to save the cracking alliance notwithstanding, the meaningful silence by the top leadership of the NC and the PDP over the statements made by leaders of the two parties indicates that the Gupkar Alliance is headed for a quiet burial even before the Assembly elections are announced in J&K.