28 November, 2020

Halfway Handshake

For the Valley, it was first a snub, then conciliatory moves

Halfway Handshake

Will the Centre and the National Conference (NC) now discuss the 1975 autonomy formula instead of the 1953 one? Or will the autonomy resolution be referred to the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC)? It took the death of Farooq Abdullah’s mother Begum Akbar Jahan to change the atmospherics on Kashmir. With the government rejecting Farooq’s pre-1953 autonomy resolution and Farooq calling a meeting of the NC’s working committee to deliberate on whether to stay on in the NDA government, the issue had degenerated into a stalemate. The question was, who would blink first? The death of Begum Akbar Jahan, widow of Sheikh Abdullah, solved that problem.

A.B. Vajpayee, L.K. Advani and George Fernandes flew into Srinagar to pay their last respects to the begum and it appeared that a thaw had set in. Vajpayee, sensitive to fluctuations in the political mood, took the first step by going to Srinagar and extending an invitation to a sulking CM to discuss the issue all over again in Delhi. Farooq agreed but that remains just one part of the story.

The turnaround in...



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