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Pandit Prophesy: Kashmir’s ‘Game of Throne’ Belongs to Congressman
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Pandit Prophesy: Kashmir’s ‘Game of Throne’ Belongs to Congressman

Days after Delhi talks, another script has unfolded in the valley. A viral clip is now laying bare a new model for “Naya Kashmir” and scrapping the political posturing of the 14 unionists.

Lutyens’ Delhi’s diehard turned discarded “crisis manager”—the one who faced the 2008 land agitation—is said to be a new manager of “Naya Kashmir”. 

The revelation came barely two days after 14 unionists from the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir met Indian premier Narendra Modi in New Delhi and reportedly made him conversant about the valley’s anguish. 

But beyond the capital reunion and ruckus, a viral clip of a Kashmiri Pandit now claims that PM Modi’s old friend Ghulam Nabi Azad is set to become chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, with the support of Apni Party, Peoples’ Conference and splinter groups of National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party.

“The decision has been taken,” the Pandit identified as “Subhash Koul”, says in chaste Kashmiri during a discussion on Kashmir’s current affairs.

“If the third wave of Covid spares us, then Azad will form the government, not on BJP’s ticket, but with his own party which he will float with the support of Altaf Bukhari’s Apni Party, Sajjad Lone’s Peoples Conference, Bhartiya Janta Party, and some defectors from NC and PDP.”

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Among those aware of the plan, the Pandit with political past said, is the former chief secretary of J&K and now Apni Party leader, Vijay Bakaya. 

Terming Azad — who at the peak of the 2008 Amarnath agitation faced the resounding slogan: ‘Nab’ien Kabar, Kashir Niebar’ (Azad’s grave lies outside the valley) — as a new BJP man, Koul terms the present politicking a “film” which just needs execution. 

“These talks are mere optics for the world,” the Pandit claimed. “Otherwise everything has been planned.”

To check the veracity of the Pandit claims, Mountain Ink reached out to the leaders named in the viral clip. But in the din of Delhi dialogue, the other side of the story remains missing up till now. As and when these leaders take queries from this publication, the story will be updated. 

However, the new claims on the heels of the dialogue dismissed as another “normalizing” exercise have already resuscitated the speculative atmosphere in the valley. 

After the group deplored as “Gupkar Gang” was invited for the first post-abrogation political engagement by Delhi, the upshot remained on the expected line. Pundits and observers had already predicted: “It’s a mere invite for delimitation process.” 

The minutes of the meeting clearly made delimitation as a political condition for statehood and assembly elections in J&K. 

“Approaching them [Kashmiri unionists] again is an indication of the fact that it [New Delhi] has no takers [in Kashmir] apart from this overused impotent lot,” Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a political analyst, said.

But before renewing ties with their old “dusted” allies, the government of India tried to patronage “third front”, which included the merchant and the suave son of the “northern lion”. 

But the old reality in “Naya Kashmir” has only paved the way to another political reconciliation.



Earlier, PM Modi gave a tearful adieu to Azad after he retired as a Rajya Sabha member.

Many argue that after the Modi government failed to install client politicians at the valley’s grassroots through poor performance in DDC polls, the political dialogue seemed to be the only way for the “upcoming elections”.

“Maybe Delhi is again in search of a new Bakshi,” said Liyaqat Ali, a history scholar. “That’s why the political stage is being set.”

Interestingly, a day before Modi’s Kashmir meet, the Election Commission of India met with district election officials from Jammu and Kashmir. 

“It’s clear that the government of India is planning to hold assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir,” said Asif Ahmed, a political science scholar. “The Delhi meeting was to kickstart the political process and to fill the political vacuum on the ground.”

Since June 2018, when the “unholy alliance” between the PDP and the BJP got dissolved, the political process was on halt in Kashmir.  

“Political process had to be started from somewhere, but the ball was always in the court of Delhi,” said Aijaz Ashraf, a political analyst from Kashmir. “It was not in the hands of local political leaders.”

For “sulking” unionist camp, many say, the dialogue was the long-desired date. 

With officialdom calling bolstered shots in the valley, the lost say of the political class made some rigid figures go for some kind of engagement in the capital. 

“What option do we have,” Sajjad Lone told Delhi media after talks. “This government is a reality and we have to make business with it.”

As aptly read by the seasoned news anchor, the ‘erudite-sounding’ Lone’s “illiberally liberal” phraseology was itself an act of normalizing the post-abrogation reality.

But Fairview is relentless. It doesn’t want to jump into the election fray, without restoration of the pre-August 2019 position. 

However, Omar Abdullah is terming the restoration of Article 370 pointless under the current regime: “The battle would be settled in the Supreme Court. This suits the Modi government as well.”

PAGD addressed presser in Srinagar before flying to Delhi.

But beyond this local reality, experts say, the sudden dialogue was driven by the global pressure, entry of dragon, the rise of turban tribe in Islamabad’s strategic depth and the loose arguments in the Supreme Court. Plus, the global policeman’s baton is termed as an unavoidable reprimand.

The newly elected Joe Biden administration in the US expressed its interest in normalcy returning to Jammu and Kashmir. 

On June 9, 2021, in a congressional hearing, Dean Thomson, US acting assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, urged New Delhi to return to normalcy in Kashmir as quickly as possible.

The political dialogue, experts say, has also come amid India’s two major geopolitical concerns: the crisis with China, and the Taliban’s advance in Afghanistan. 

“That pull of US forces from Afghanistan,” said DP Pandey, a Srinagar-based army general, “may push in some militants into Kashmir.”  

14 J&K unionists sharing talks table with PM Modi, HM Amit Shah and NSA Ajit Doval.

Meanwhile, rubbishing the Panun Kashmir prototype and proponents, the Pandit voice in the viral clip said that his tribe has long moved on with their lives.

But Azad, he said, holds sway in his community because of his “secular” credentials and “KP-welfare work” as former chief minister.

Notably, during the all-party meet recently, Azad put forward several demands, including statehood, assembly elections, the release of all political detainees and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits.

“All depends upon the third wave now,” the Pandit reiterated. “If it spares us, then Azad is new chief minister, with a deputy from BJP.”

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