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‘Fax off’ Moment in Kashmir Politics: Much Ado About Nothing

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Could it have gotten stranger? The parties who used to wash each other’s dirty linen publicly, joined hands ‘to protect the identity’ of the state. But the political drama took such a turn by the evening of November 21 that the grand trip ended even before starting.

No other political play involving the Delhi-appointed political governor and local unionists drew such curiosity and attention in the recent times, as did the eventful evening of November 21.

The dusk drama saw the grand grouping facing Raj Bhavan’s holidaying hitch in such a manner that resurfaced Delhi’s old school Kashmir management, almost in post-haste.

With that, the berated script of need-based clientele relationship came into play — that even made Delhi’s tested cast and crew in Kashmir as Pak Proxies.

If that is the case—as ‘proud RSS man’ and former JK speaker, Kavindra Gupta, besides BJP’s ex-Kashmir pointman Ram Madhav want one to believe—then why is New Delhi still reluctant to have a dialogue with Islamabad, given its sway over K-politics?

The question set many thinking—that too, at a time, when another spectre had ended on the political farce in Kashmir.

“For the party that sees a ‘Pakistani hand’ in everything Kashmir, this brazen charge hardly surprises anyone,” said a top NC leader on the sidelines of the presser that his party vice president addressed on war-footing on Thursday.

“BJP is so paranoid about us now that despite placing their yes men at the helm of affairs in the state, they aren’t still sure of its Kashmir handling. Like our leader said, we’re indeed living in interesting times.”

FPK Photo/Wasim Nabi.

This might be the overwhelming feeling across the political sphere right now, but the way BJP is now humorously denouncing the local unionist camp with its Anti-national ‘rag tag’ politics has brought home a new understanding about its Kashmir affairs.

Amid all this, JK Governor Satyapal Malik—a seasoned politician of the Mufti Sayeed era—seems to have some (un)convincing answers under his sleeve over the entire fax storm. His no-floor-test decision to dissolve the JK Assembly—that even saw the two arch-rivals exchanging light-hearted banter on twitter—indeed made him the thick-skinned manager.

Justifying his move, Malik blamed everything under the sun, even accusing the three parties of horse-trading and harbouring unstable political ideologies.

ALSO READ: MLAs were receiving ‘terror threats’, says JK Guv Malik on decision to dissolve assembly

However, Omar Abdullah was in no mood to relent for the day, reminding many of his blogger bile days. If the two polar ideological parties like BJP and PDP can come together and float the unholy alliance, the ex-chief minister asked, then why can’t NC, PDP and Congress float a Grand Alliance?

Many such questions were raised on the day when media had a hectic field day to accommodate the barrage of bytes over JK’s new political storm.

Governor Malik addressing the media.

Behind the entire spectre, many believe, was the genesis of the growing sway and aspiration of Sangh party’s ally from northern Kashmir.

As a dark horse of Kashmiri politics at the moment, Sajjad Lone recently got a shot in the arm when his “beloved uncle” and former Peoples Conference man, Muzaffar Hussain Baig expressed willingness to join a third front, if it emerges in Kashmir.

But Baig’s “pampered brat” hardly had a hunch of the soon-to-be twisting development on the political landscape of Kashmir.

Lone was on a supposed sabbatical in London when PDP’s bigwig—who’s friends with people across the political spectrum—Altaf Bukhari confirmed that all three—NC, PDP and Congress—have come together “to protect the identity” of the state.

Bukhari’s byte from his Bund residence’s manicured garden concretized the idea of the Grand Alliance, for the first time—after rumours were rife about it from the last five months, when the North Pole-South Pole Alliance faced its Waterloo, this past simmering summer.

Bukhari’s dusk meet at Gupkar was to seal the date of the alliance. But while many thought that Amira Kadal lawmaker and the bigwig trader might be still warming up with Omar Abdullah, his party chief Mehbooba Mufti came up with her fax-faulted tweet. She said that she would stake claim on the government formation in JK, with the support of 56 MLAs, and sought to meet with the Governor.

With that, the Grand Alliance had finally shaped up—and was just a nod away from Raj Bhavan, camped in Jammu these days.

But while Mehbooba was still wondering—at least her tweet said so—why Raj Bhavan wasn’t receiving her fax, BJP’s K-ally and Peoples Conference chief Sajjad Lone WhatsApped his letter for government formation in JK, with the support of BJP and 18 other MLAs.

Among the two throne contenders, Lone apparently knew the best way to reach His Excellency, on the day when “there was no one in Raj Bhavan to even give me food”.

Sajjad Lone with BJP leaders. (File Photo)

More than anything else, this Wednesday night’s fleeting power struggle became an amusing political affair—perhaps new in Kashmir—having all the elements of a political blockbuster in it.

But a conflict came soon in the competing-chair-claim-plot, when Governor Malik dissolved the assembly — on which he had maintained a status quo, despite receiving passionate pleas and meets from the local unionist camp, to end the suspended animation.

While the whole timing of Malik’s move set speculations afire, the governor played it cool—the way he has been playing in Kashmir, ever since he was drafted by the Indian premier to JK from Bihar.

“[But] This is for the first time that a fax machine didn’t work and became responsible for the death of democracy,” Omar said during his presser.

“This fax machine is a one-way fax; it has only outgoing and no incoming. This is a unique fax machine and investigation should be done on it.”

Besides the decisive bad fax, both Omar and the Congress chief sought an apology or evidence from Madhav’s shoot or scoot Pak comment. However, by another sundown in Kashmir, the BJP leader had taken back his comments.

And with that, another political storm had apparently passed in the valley. Now, all eyes are on New Delhi, once again—for the fresh poll date.

But the entire drama, as NC veteran Mustafa Kamal’s searing suicide jibe pointed out, made it quite Shakespearean—Much ado about nothing!


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