Political parties, both in Jammu and Kashmir and on national level have been demanding the restoration of statehood. Almost every regional party in Jammu and Kashmir has time and again, in different ways, approached to the union government in this regard. In Rajya Sabha, senior Congress leader and former J&K Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad too has vehemently demanded restoration of statehood. Earlier, Prime Minister and the Home Minister have themselves promised on the floor of the house that statehood would be restored to Jammu and Kashmir and BJP’s J&K based leadership too has been making these promises. As the union government and Lt Governor’s administration claims that following abrogation of Article 370 the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has improved and the Union Territory is fast marching on the path of normalcy, there is no reason why the restoration of statehood should be delayed. And once the statehood is restored, the government should gear up for a free and fair assembly election.
Through these columns, we have been all along emphasizing that what Jammu and Kashmir needs the most is restoration of political process. A place like Jammu and Kashmir can’t be perpetually left to be run by bureaucrats. It needs elected representatives who are connected with the masses and therefore are aware of the issues and problems faced by them. Citizens here have a right, a democratic right, to choose the government of their liking. To put the political process back on the track, restoration of statehood could be the first step.History bears witness that from India’s first Prime Minister, Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru to the incumbent Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, everyone would refer to Jammu and Kashmir state as “the crown of India”. Reducing this crown to mere union territories has been a shock for the entire populations which already suffered badly due to the conflict between India and Pakistan. This place never deserved degradation.
Democracy is battle of ideas. All the political players, keeping the interest of the people and the nation paramount, have their own ways of looking at the situation and hunting for the answers to the questions haunting their people. Approaches could be different, ideologies could be different, modus operandi could be different but the goal remains the same – working for welfare of people and the nation. These differences are what make democracy a beautiful concept. In this backdrop, J&K needs resumption of a political process. Bureaucratic rule, no matter how efficient it would be, can never be a substitute to a popular government. Even small time political workers of a village are more connected to the masses than SDMs and Tehsildars. Need is to strengthen the politics, provide a healthy atmosphere wherein a political process takes routes afresh. There is a huge difference between the rulers, mandated by the public to rule, and the rulers, appointed by the Centre to rule. The former are the ones who could be described as representatives of the public and thus they should be on the wheel while making decisions for the public good.