Srinagar, September 23:

There  is a gradual shift in Kashmir politics toward realism . It is not voluble , but definitely the one that has emerged out of raising of issues concerning  masses in their-day-to-day life  and quite often getting adequate response from the government . The attempt is to move away from the politics of slogans  and do the real things on the ground , or at least make the government  responsive and accountable ,though it is proverbial Herculean task in these  times .

It is too early to say whether this way of playing politics  that is semi-developmental and semi-political  has achieved any substantive results or not , but it has emerged as a  new factor that is being talked about . The reconciliation of ideas  in the aftermath of August 5, 2019 , decisions when Article 370 was scrapped and the state of Jammu and Kashmir split into two Union Territories – J&K, and Ladakh.

Among the top proponents of this new brand of politics  is Altaf Bukhari who is learning curves of the professional politics. But he is in the company of hardcore political professionals like Ghulam Hassan Mir, Dillawar Mir and few others  in  Apni Party that he heads .  He has pledged himself to bridging gaps between Delhi and Srinagar, Srinagar and Jammu  but his politics rests on the idea of physical connectivity to be made vibrant by the psychological meeting points.

What he and his party are  talking about  is something different ; there is a call for clearing the roads connecting Jammu region with the Valley of their bottlenecks  so that there is  smooth flow of the traffic and minds. Landslides and other hurdles create misgivings . That’s precisely what has been happening in Jammu and Kashmir and that’s the primary reason for the alienation in this place, apart from other factors already in the political discourse.

Most of the talking points of this party are connected to the plight of the daily wagers, slump in tourism, trade and industry , issues of self help groups , medical assistants, plight of the fruit growers and merchants  and so on. These may sound light issues when there is a big talk of the restoration of the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir,  and the statehood, including Ladakh.

The reality is different now. The  Narendra Modi government  had its own reasons for scrapping the Article 370 and 35-A to bring the whole of the nation under one constitution – Jammu and Kashmir had its separate constitution and flag and its permanent residents had exclusive rights to own the land, secure state government jobs and educational scholarships , and above all the legislature that  had all the powers to frame its own laws, it could also facilitate the application of the Central laws or reject them for the state . All this was achieved with a majority in the Parliament , and more importantly, the move was celebrated across the nation.

The same government and the nation would not go back on it. This reality is quite evident now . The practical way out is to get the statehood back for J&K, and that’s what the Union Home Minister Amit Shah had promised to  the people on the floor of the parliament  on August 5, 2019. The sanctity of that pledge  is there. This is what Apni Party and its leader Altaf Bukhari on banking upon.

Though Apni  Party  is in its infancy , and it could not keep pace with its own schedule because of the Corona virus that hit J&K like other parts of the world , its ideas are gradually finding acceptance among the people , though they are not saying it in as many words. It is also true that the people at large are not talking about the restoration of the Article 370. They know the reality better.

Apni Party is creating a space not only for itself as a political party but also as a real face of the real aspirations of the people whose aspirations have  suffered because of what they call bureaucratic control . Altaf Bukhari is leading the way out of this stranglehold.