Kashmir's regional party offices deserted after Aug 5

Indian Special Security Branch (SSB) soldiers guard the house of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and leader of regional National Conference (NC) Farooq Abdullah (unseen), at his residence in Srinagar on October 6, 2019. (AFP Photo)

With their leaders behind the bars, the offices of all the major regional political parties as well as Congress in Kashmir wear deserted look as Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) is calling shots to strengthen its base in the Valley. 

Most of the leaders of regional National Conference (NC) and People’s Democratic Party were detained by the authorities on August 5 hours before the Parliament scrapped special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two union territories. The detained leaders include three former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.

The NC, Kashmir’s oldest and largest political party head office located at Zero Bridge just a kilometer and half away from city center Lal Chowk, has seen a countable number of visitors in the last two months. It was because of few visits of two party members of parliament – Mohammad Akbar Lone and Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi – that some activity was seen at the party headquarters.

Similar is the case with the PDP headquarters located half a kilometer away from the NC office near Sher-e-Kashmir Park. While the party was in disarray after BJP walked away from its alliance with the PDP in June 2018, Mehbooba’s arrest has demoralized the party cadres.

The Congress party office situated on Maulana Azad road near city center narrates the same story as most of the party leader’s skip visiting there.

“On usual days, our party headquarter would have been abuzz with people and leaders, discussing politics, workers thronging with grievances, and leaders issuing letters to administration asking them to settle public issues,” an office bearer of the NC told DH. 

“However, now the workers and second rung leaders are afraid of visiting the party headquarters as they fear they may be arrested. For the last two months, there is no activity, no buzz, no politics,” he added. 

On the other hand, the BJP office in Jawahar Nagar area of civil lines in Srinagar is abuzz with activities with BJP’s local leaders working hard to gain more foothold in the Valley. “In the last two months, 300 panchayat members have joined the BJP in Kashmir- raising their number to over 1500 in the party fold,” Altaf Thakur, party’s J&K, Media In-charge, said.

Assembly elections 2019 | Get the latest news, views and analysis on elections in Haryana and Maharashtra on DeccanHerald.com

For election-related news in Maharashtra, click here

For election-related news in Haryana, click here

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)