Let’s assert

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The politics in Kashmir which has been in a sort of perpetual turmoil, is witnessing increased tumult ever-since the election bugle has been sounded. Different political groupings in the mainstream camp are slugging it out against each other in trying to find some relevance for them. With an eye on the Assembly elections which may follow after the Lok Sabha elections are over, each of these groups is busy trying to figure out how to make the most of it.

On the face of it, the separatists have announced their boycott for elections, even though in the changed political circumstances most of them are still not so sure whether this is the wise option. For some, this may be the last chance to wield some bargaining power in increasingly changed political situation which is rendering many of them absolutely redundant.

For those in the mainstream camp, well, they are as ever busy picking holes in each other. While the rift between the National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party has for long been right in the public domain, the entry of a third contender – the Peoples Conference – has made the situation all the more interesting  as each of them are slanderously critical of each-other. The smaller parties as well as individual politicians too are desperately trying to grab attention by poking their noses here and there.

Without going into the morality of who is doing what to whom, it goes without saying that none of the political parties are doing any good to the state and its people. Instead everybody seems so busy with their set of selfish politics that they have lost track of the general public’s good. Irrespective of how much and what is said about the common people and their interests and aspirations, or for that matter the state’s special status being flagged as the main priority, fact of the matter remains that situation on the ground belies such assertions. No wonder there is a widespread general despise for the politicians in general here!

While the tumultuous situation in the state brings uncertainly in the current government’s (read Governor’s administration) working, on the other hand the kind of sleazy politics that is on massive display these days is drawing people away with the brand of politics that characterizes the mainstream camp.

Given the kind of politics that is at display in the state, both from mainstream as well as the separatist camps, it’s high time for the people to ask themselves some important questions. In fact a very important cue comes from an advert played by some television channels which shows a political leader coming to people seeking votes, and is asked by people about his qualifications. Now that every mainstream party has started asking people for votes for the next elections, and separatists are again urging them to boycott, people can and they should start asserting their power to set the agenda for the political leaders of all hues to follow. “Tell me why should I/we vote for you? What did you do when I/we voted for you last time…?” “Tell us why should I/we heed your boycott call? What did you do when I/we boycotted previous polls, how did it help…?”

Remember, when one talks about assertion of people’s power, it doesn’t necessarily mean that people will have to be in violent agitation mode to do so. It can be done with far greater efficiency through nonviolent means of assertion if only people know how to organize and use non-violent tactics to bring about a desired social and political change. Going back to the cue provided by the television advert, people must realize their power – peoples’ power — and thus not only determine but practically dictate what should be the agenda of each political group. Lying low like dumb-driven cattle helps none and history of past couple of decades have proved it beyond any doubt. Therefore, instead of letting the political leaders have a field day without anybody questioning them for whatever they do, people must come out of their self-imposed hibernation and hold political leaders accountable.


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