J&K: Discontent within the National Conference and Congress grow post Lok Sabha polls
Discontent is growing within the National Conference and Congress, partners in Jammu and Kashmir after the parties suffered a complete decimation .
At party meetings and outside, top leaders have been accusing their own party functionaries of mismanaging the affairs in the state. The two parties have also routinely held each other responsible for the defeat. With fast-approaching assembly elections, they have a lot to work on to improve their standings.
Dr Farooq Abdullah, the NC leader who was a minister in the previous central government, threw abuses at his party leaders at a meeting on Wednesday, saying that they misled him about the ground situation while he was in Delhi.
"They did not tell me anything about the ground realities that led to our defeat. I am not going to leave them and going to shunt them out from NC," he said. Though he skipped identifying anyone, Dr Mehboob Beg, the south Kashmir leader who lost to Mehbooba Mufti in the Lok Sabha polls from Anantnag, could not wait hitting at state’s finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather.
"As chairman of the district development board Anantnag, Rather never permitted the party members to speak but he always accommodated the opposition PDP," Beg said. "He (Rather) adjusted youth from his own constituency in J&K Bank. Despite all this he lost his seat in the Lok Sabha polls."
While Rather hasn’t yet reacted to the allegations, opposition PDP has got an axe to grind. "If a senior leader is making such allegations, then the issue is pretty serious," said PDP’s Tariq Hameed Karra, who trounced Abdullah.
"It is the responsibility of the government and the bank to come clean with a White Paper on the issue, sooner the better." The mudslinging followed NCs decision to reorganise the party. It has already appointed a senior minister as the party’s new secretary-general and most of the decisions made by Omar Abdullah as working president are likely to be reversed.
There are also efforts to go for the assembly polls with Dr Abdullah as a chief ministerial candidate, instead of incumbent Omar, an idea that is being resisted by the younger generation in the party.
The Congress has also landed in a similar situation. "J&K has landed in political uncertainty as the NC has lost in all the three regions," Makhan Lal Fotedar, an old Nehru family insider, said. "It is difficult to predict with whom Congress will ally with for the next government."
Fotedar said the Congress is still in shock over Ghulam Nabi Azad’s defeat and may not permit him to lead the party in state elections. He sees state Congress president Prof Saif ud Din Soz as disconnected.
The comments have angered several party leaders who challenged Fotedar to contest and win a municipal election from anywhere across India. "It is easy to talk to the media in air-conditioned rooms," Congressman Abdul Gani Vakil said. "He issues decrees when he comes for yearly holidaying and is not aware of the ground realities."
Azad personally claims to be upset over the Congress and NC attacking each other. "We must put a lid over it so that further damage could be stopped," Azad said. But ask him for the Congress rout. He says it was because the coalition government failed in implementing the development agenda.
Azad is clear that the two parties will go to polls separately.Exhibition of their discomfort over the alliance notwithstanding, neither of the two parties is interested in moving out of the government. "If both sides are aghast with each other they must part ways and if they feel to have the cordial relationship, the government must continue till its last day," Azad said. On this front, the NC is on the same page.