JK News Commentary

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has kept his word on  Kashmir .   Ever since he delivered  his historic speech on the 73rd Independence Day speech from the ramparts of  Red Fort  promising  a youth friendly and grassroots democracy promoting approach to resolve the issues confronting  Kashmir , a series of steps have underscored the sincerity with which he  has implemented the  measures  in a step by step approach .

That the  process to the grassroots democratic institutions  of the urban local bodies and the panchayats  is underway  in Jammu and Kashmir   after a  long wait for years together  speaks that there was a  gentle push for the  real democracy in the State .  It was not a small feat because there were doubts about the announcement being made  for the polls. These doubts thickened after the two major regional parties National Conference and  People’s Democratic Party  announced the boycott of the polls  for their own compulsions . The use of the ruse of the Article 35 A ‘s hearing to the  polls was a bad idea  because the parties’ leadership knew that the real reason lay somewhere else . No one knew it better than the  leaders that they would be  facing tough times  in fielding the candidates and then seeking votes .

With separatists’ call for the boycott of the polls for their own reasons  of linking these to  what they called  to resist the Indian designs  to authenticate its control over Jammu and Kashmir , the NC and PDP  appeared to have made a common cause with them.  The plea taken by the two parties that had been part of the electoral politics  for decades  was  to hide behind the  curtain of secessionism to save themselves  from the hostility  that they had engendered for the established political system in Kashmir . They were responsible for delaying the polls  despite the repeated pleas by the Union Home Ministry  that the state should not be losing  money for the development of the places in the state .  The development is one of the biggest sources of empowerment .

This initiative that has started taking shape  in hope for the development  of the villages and cities in equal measure should be seen  a big step forward , and much of the credit should go to  Governor Satya Pal Malik  who has turned the corner by his prescience and immediate connect with the people of Kashmir . His  message is loud and clear , which is an unmistakable echo of the Prime Minister’s words that  the real way forward is through development , and by addressing the issues that concern the youth primarily .

Fingers might be pointed that the whole process is not perfect  as in a number of  wards in the Municipal Committees or Corporations  , candidates have not come forward to contest , the fact is that the  suppression of hope for years together by the vested interests and violence  cannot  sprout seeds of the  democracy  instantly . It needs time . The fact is that a big step has been taken and its results would be visible soon.