in ,

Parliamentary elections in J&K: winners and losers 

Ziraat Times Editorial Board

The recent parliamentary elections in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), marked by an impressive 58.11% voter turnout, is a pivotal moment in the state’s tumultuous history. This substantial participation reflects a renewed faith in the country’s electoral democracy amidst the backdrop of prolonged violence, fear, and social stigma which had been associated with the electoral process. From Kupwara to Kathua, the enthusiasm and hope exhibited by the electorate underscore a collective desire for stability, development, and a return to representative democracy. Diverse political parties have been able to reclaim their political spaces lost to unrest, and reached out to their voters in a way not seen in the last three decades in Kashmir.
What has been striking is the passionate particitation of people, mainly the youth, in election rallies in places where elections were once a taboo. For weeks, J&K’s diverse sub ethnic and religious groups engaged in a festival of democracy,  which was heartening to watch. The electorate’s willingness to participate in the democratic process reflects a strong desire for good governance and a meaningful representation in the country’s parliament. The administration’s efforts in promoting greater voter turnout has been well acknowledged as well. This democratic engagement is what India is, justifiably, known and admired for globally. And this is something that must be preserved and promoted in Jammu & Kashmir.
The return to the ballot box  can also be seen as an assertion of regional identity and agency by the people of J&K. It is a declaration of their aspiration to be active participants in shaping their future through peaceful and democratic means within the constitutional framework of the country.
The union government’s  response to this democratic resurgence should be one of respect and reciprocation. Acknowledging the people’s mandate is not only a matter of democratic principle but also a political necessity. This is particularly important in J&K, where political disenchantment has often been cited as a root cause of unrest.
One of the most significant announcements that have  been made by the Chief Election Commissioner on Saturday is that the commission will initiate the process of assembly elections in J&K soon. The abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 and the subsequent bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories was not an easy transition for J&K. Therefore, restoring statehood would address a key demand of the local population, thereby alleviating some of the grievances that are being articulated from time to time.
Assembly elections would empower the people of J&K by providing them with a legitimate platform to address their issues and aspirations. Local governance is crucial for addressing region-specific challenges and ensuring that developmental policies are tailored to the unique needs of the state. A responsive and representative state government can work more effectively towards socio-economic development, greater national integration  and also countering the narratives of alienation and marginalization.
Restoring statehood and initiating assembly elections in J&K is not just a regional issue but one of national interest. Stability in J&K is crucial for the country.  A stable, democratic, and prosperous J&K can serve as a bulwark against external threats and internal unrest.
It is also important to address certain shortcomings with the voter registration process and the voter registry. A large number of eligible voters, despite registration, still did not figure in the voter lists during the Parliamentary elections. A significant number of eligible voters had to go back disappointed after finding their names missing from voter lists at polling booths. This must be addressed on top priority before the Assembly elections.
All said, the unprecedented voter turnout in the recent parliamentary elections in J&K is a clear call for a renewed democratic engagement. There will be no losers from this election process. It is a win-win for all political forces of J&K for they have reclaimed their political spaces. It is a win for the union government too for it was able to ensure a broad-based participation in a peaceful manner. Beyond partisan lenses, it is a win for all. Therefore,  there should be no place for the past temptations of engineering the natural democratic process in J&K. J&K has wedded to the idea of a democratic, secular and inclusive India. It is imperative for the Union  government to recognize and respect the will of the people as demonstrated through these elections, and to take concrete steps towards initiating assembly elections and restoring statehood to this erstwhile state.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Apple Blotch Leaf Miner problem in orchards: SKUAST Kashmir issues advisory for farmers

What went wrong with capitalism?