31 July, 2021

Little Toots Of Poll Bugle

New Delhi tosses a googly to Kashmir: district polls. The pro-370 Gupkar alliance goes on the front foot. Hardline members, weaned in Geelani’s boycott tradition, are angry.

Off the block— Farooq Abdullah (front) with other Kashmiri leaders
Photograph by PTI
Little Toots Of Poll Bugle

When the BJP government threw down the gauntlet in Kashmir, it was expected to go unchallenged. But the Political Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, an amalgam of different parties seeking restoration of Article 370 had different ideas.

On November 7, the alliance—which includes the Peoples Democratic Party, National Conference, People’s Conference and CPI(M) along with the Congress—announced its decision to contest the district development council polls scheduled for December. The council polls are being held for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir, which was stripped of its special status in August last year and the state bifurcated into two Union territories.

The poll announcement has left hardliners within the alliance—which is led by NC leader and former CM Farooq Abdullah—angry. Party spokesperson Ruhullah Mehdi argues that the alliance fell into the trap laid by the government. “To win a war, battles are sometimes deliberately lost,” he says, pointing out that boycotting the polls would have sent the message to the...

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