Four JK lawmakers in Rajya Sabha are retiring in coming weeks. In absence of J&K Legislative Assembly that is the electoral institution via which the new members would be elected, the speculation and the debate within the political circles remain about the empty benches in the Indian parliament.
Before Kashmirâs âabrogatedâ political landscape would create a vacuum in Indian upper house, the regionâs tumultuous past under the direct control of Delhi had faced a similar situation.
It was in 1994 when Kashmir was under presidentâs rule and had no representation in the upper house of Indian Parliament.
âDuring the peak militancy era of the early 90s, âdemocracyâ remained suspended and there was no institutional mechanism to hold assembly elections for a few years,â Prof. Noor A. Baba told Mountain Ink (MI).
âWith the result, the erstwhile state couldnât elect any representative for the Indian parliament.â
But that no-representation of the time held no meaning, the professor added.
âNeither did the representation that went to Rajya Sabha after 1996 assembly elections which cleared decks for electing parliament members,â he said.
Earlier, to fill the electoral political vacuum in the valley, Delhi had recalled its dark horse, a year after he fiercely lobbied for India in the 1995 United Nations showdown on Kashmir resolution.
With Farooq Abdullahâs help, Delhi finally ended the political void created by the martial management of the defiant region filled with boycott mood.
Now, as Abdullahâs son is currently warming up to North Block for ending political paralysis in the region, many see it a clear dĂ©jĂ vu.
âHistory is undoubtedly repeating itself with some old cards but in a different scenario,â Prof Baba said. âHowever, after snatching every empowering provisions and the statehood of J&K, having or not having a representation doesnât make any difference. Further, the gulf in Gupkar Alliance wonât make the new political projecting easy.â
Political analyst Dr. Sheikh Showkat Hussain said when Article-370 and 35-A were deliberated, there was at least some space given to those who held any sort of representation in the Indian Parliament.
âBut whatever space they held, they didnât avail it,â Dr Hussain told MI.
In fact, he said, the case of Kashmir has never been represented in the Indian Parliament by âDelhiâs handpicked menâ.
âPicking men based on their face value, posture or family background is what Delhi has been doing in Kashmir since long,â Hussain said.
âAfter its new political investment on fresh faces during DDC elections failed, it started engaging with old hands once again.â
However, senior scribe Zafar Meraj negates any significance of the issue given the current scenario.
âNot having a representation in the upper house is a constitutional matter that doesnât and hasnât had a political implication or relevance,â Zafar told MI.
For representation, a legislative assembly is needed. And in absence of statehood and elections, it doesnât seem possible.
âHaving a legislative assembly in Kashmir seems a far-fetched thing as of now,â Zafar said. âHowever, thereâs a hope, and thatâs on the pending Supreme Courtâs decision.â
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