ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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BJP's Unprecedented Victory in Jammu

A detailed look at the Bharatiya Janata Party's electoral sweep of the Jammu region unpacks the victory and provides clues to understanding its political roots.

The Second Uprising

Signs of simmering discontent have been visible in Kashmir since early 2007 after a series of civilian killings in fake encounters by security forces and in the Amarnath land row agitation of 2008. Contrary to what New Delhi may have been led to believe, separatist politics has acquired a more intense and aggressive form in the Valley by the participation of youth. Exploring the manner in which assertions of separatist politics have changed since 1989-90, this article argues that separatism is now driven by street responses of the youth and is witnessing a shrinking space for moderation.

Identity Politics and Regional Polarisation in J&K

Recently, two issues have generated much heat in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. One is the bill to disqualify women who married men outside the state from the status of permanent residents and the other is the demand to curb scheduled caste and tribe reservations in the Kashmir districts. Both these issues pitted assertion of regional and communal identities against the rights of the marginalised. This article discusses the dangers inherent in this for the future of the state.

Separatist Sentiments and Deepening of Democracy

The energetic and high voter turnout in the recently held elections in Jammu and Kashmir defied popular scepticism after the widespread Amarnath land protests and the vociferous demand in Kashmir for azaadi. The elections should be seen as a process of democratising the political mainstream in the Kashmir Valley. It would however be a folly to suggest that the high degree of participation in the elections has signalled a rejection of separatism. The "problem" of separatism can only be addressed through greater dialogue, which has been facilitated now by the people's yearning for a honourable solution.

Electioneering in Kashmir: Overlap between Separatist and Mainstream Political Space

The impending assembly elections in 2008 in Jammu and Kashmir mark a break in electioneering in the state in recent times, particularly in the Kashmir valley. Heightened political activity by the mainstream political parties and internalisation of separatist demands have characterised this break.

Jammu and Kashmir: Changed Political Scenario

The high voter turnout in the recent by-elections in Jammu and Kashmir indicates the increasing acceptance of democratic politics on the part of the citizenry. Mainstream parties who participated in these elections also took up issues that have long been considered separatist themes, i e, human rights violations, opening up of links with Pakistan, etc. At the same time, the dichotomy between elections for purposes of governance and those to resolve wider political grievances still remains.

Jammu and Kashmir : Electoral Politics in a Separatist Context

The 2004 parliamentary elections in Jammu and Kashmir reaffirmed trends already in evidence since the 2002 assembly elections in the state. Despite the continued threat of militancy and the politics of separatism running a course parallel to electoral politics, the improved showing of the People's Democratic Party in the Kashmir Valley and the resurgence of the Congress in Jammu establishes two things. First, that issues relating to a Kashmiri identity have now found a space in the electoral agenda beyond an exclusive, separatist platform and, second, the politics of division in Jammu, either of religion, caste or tribe, as encouraged by the BJP and the National Conference, has been firmly rejected. It remains to be seen whether the centre, in an atmosphere of renewed optimism in the electoral process as several election surveys also revealed, will now attempt to seek some resolution of the long-standing Kashmir issue by involving more groups in the process.

National Conference of Jammu and Kashmir

The transformation of the role of the National Conference (NC) from a hegemonic actor to the single largest party of the state has to be located in the larger political context of the state in the last 15 years. This political context, defined by the contestation of legitimacy of mainstream politics on the one hand and the situation of armed militancy and separatism on the other had constricted the very nature of democratic politics. The relevance of the NC today extends beyond competitive regional politics. Its claim as the initiator of the tradition of the political movement in Kashmir and its contribution to the evolution of Kashmiri identity politics, assume importance in the contemporary situation of the state.

Kashmir: Elections 2002: Implications for Politics of Separatism

The recent assembly election provides important insights into the political psyche of Kashmir today. In many ways, the current election can be seen as a reversal of 1987 assembly elections which by eroding the democratic space had become catalyst for extension of separatist politics. This election has brought about a change in the regime through the popular verdict and to that extent has become instrumental in providing a linkage between the people and the government. For a state known for its history of making and unmaking of governments at the behest of the centre it indeed has been a historic election.

Kashmir: Lone's Liberal Legacy

Abdul Gani Lone's assassination is likely to have a profound impact on the movement towards a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. For, despite the multiplicity of actors representing mainstream politics and militant organisations, there are not many who have the capacity and the dynamism to respond to the local sensitivities in the way he could

Panchayat Elections in Kashmir

People's response to the panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir, which are being conducted in a phased manner since January this year, has differed depending on the political situation prevailing in different parts of the state. While the elections have evoked an enthusiastic response in many parts of Jammu and Ladakh, in Kashmir valley they have been virtually a paper exercise. Political processes and institutions in the valley suffer from a crisis of legitimacy. Panchayati institutions are perceived as a part of the existing structure of power that bears no relation to the aspirations and choices of people.

Autonomy Demand

Over the past 12 years the dominant discourse in Kashmir, defined by the separatist agenda has pushed into the background serious thinking on the autonomy issue. The State Autonomy Committee report, recently tabled in a special session of the state assembly, has prompted a reopening of that discourse. Notwithstanding the limitations of the Report, it has wide-ranging political implications for the state and its relationship with New Delhi.

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