Will AAP’s Delhi effect be felt in Jammu & Kashmir?
Spectacular victory and occupying the throne of Delhi on their own terms, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) sent ripples across the nation. By challenging the top powers in Delhi, AAP has taken the proverbial bull by its horns and is ready to make forays in other corners of the country. How it functions under Arvind Kejriwal’s leadership is yet to be seen, but in the first instance of a solid solution to a problem, Delhi’s new Chief Minister’s call to the public- ‘to set-up the briber’ ..Call a helpline number, help to catch briber red-handed and also get your work done’- has elevated his score amongst people smothered by corruption in government and public enterprises. Surely, the uprising and eventual victory of AAP has raised the imagination of the public in Jammu & Kashmir too, who face the frostbite of corruption in every nook and corner of daily life .
Towards the tail end of the year past, expectations have risen amongst Kashmiris, as the citadel of Congress – National Conference combine, is shaken to its core, by the AAP’s Delhi effect. It is not so much about which party comes tops in J&K in the forthcoming assembly elections 2014, but about the cleansing that has been necessitated in each party by the rise of the AAP’s popularity and its people friendly agenda. Also, it’s no more about just the roads, water supply, power cuts, human right issues and jobs in Kashmir, the public is now ready to follow the new formula – “If corruption is uprooted, all amenities and other redressals would conveniently and rightfully fall in public domain without begging”. Chiefly, because this is the basic right of the public, which has long been usurped by the ruling MLAs and MPs. It was as if the ruling echelon had turned into Gods and us into ‘lesser beings’, is the take of Kashmiri political leader.
At the time when Kashmir gears up for assembly polls, the mood is upbeat, the public is ready to showdown those who have misused powers, extended false promises, accumulated wealth, accused in various scams and such others, with a renewed vengeance. In other words, the choice would clearly be to root out corruption that eats into the vitals of each beneficiary of the state. Demands about transparency, accountability, good and fair governance, is ready to turn into a shout, if the Delhi-like unity and faith is propounded amongst voters of J&K, is the strongly feeling of the AAP brigade.
Each of the parties is rethinking their strategies, eventhough politics in Kashmir is known to be different from Delhi. It is also true that Delhi has hardly played fair with the Kashmiris- whether Kashmiri Muslims or Kashmiri Pandits and Hindus, the charge has been loud from both communities.
There has never been a better time for general acceptance of a good candidate compared to a more popular name or party, than now. This time the traditional political players may have to either drastically change or make place for new entrants, emboldened by the victory of AAP in Delhi. It is predicted that like Sheila Dixit, many bigwigs may bite dust in the 2014 polls. The “Yes we can” slogan, has come to rule in Indian politics too and the public has found its handles with vast possibilities of actually cleansing the system step by step. Even if 10 percent of change is seen in Delhi, AAP’s Kejriwal would be seen as a valued leader. Kejriwal’s out-of-the-box ideas, solutions and planning are inspiring, imaginative and practical, yet there are vital corners that need drastic cutting, measures and mind-set changes like ‘fake proofs’, ‘fake documentation’ scams wherein computer applications will be tapped to become a mouthpiece for transparency and hearing-aids for public health and discourse.
Similarly, alternatives mentioned already, may find a place in J&K as well. Clearly new entrants would be seen to benefit from this fresh wave. AAP is already tapping the Kashmiri populace through mass sms urging them to innumerate their problems and quote real-time incidents besides goading them to approach the Party. Since these mobile messages are being floated by in-house Kashmiris and Jammu wallas, aware of core issues, there is no reason why they would not find favor with the disgruntled public, who primarily wants to live a life of dignity. In the past many years most promises to the people of the state have fallen flat, stuck in the snows of distrust; it is hoped that year 2014 may bring in cheer. The mood is upbeat and political slogans may be more careful than careless.
It is hoped this time, that the bottled up ‘Yes we can’ may shoot forth into a sky-high fountain and burst into a rainbow, across the frozen mountain peaks of Jammu and Kashmir spreading colors and cheer all around, come election-2014.
FIRST PUBLISHED IN RISING KASHMIR ON January 2, 2014