SRINAGAR: With the withdrawal of certain constitutional provisions under Article 370 in Kashmir, the mainstream political parties in the Valley have suddenly lost their “relevance” now and would have to come up with alternative narrative very fast to make themselves relevant again.
For over 70 years, the mainstream parties, especially National Conference of the Abdullahs and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), formed in 1999, based their politics on the sense that Jammu and Kashmir is a unique state with special identity within the Constitution.
They conveyed a clear sense to the people that they were there to protect the state’s interest by safeguarding Article 370, which guaranteed special status to J&K, and Article 35A, which barred outsiders from purchasing land and getting government jobs and scholarships in the Valley.
Whenever BJP leaders and central government ministers raised the issue of abrogation of Article 370 or 35A, the two mainstream parties would hit back saying these two Articles were the only link between India and J&K and if it was snapped, the state’s ties with India would end.
The PDP chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, in her last reaction before being arrested in the wake of Centre’s decision on J&K, had tweeted that after pulling provisions under Article 370 and 35A, “India has become an occupational force in J&K.” “Mainstream politics in Kashmir is dead,” Javed Ahmad, a Srinagar resident, said.