At a time when the atmosphere is conducive to holding assembly elections in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha’s call for an all-party meeting has raised hopes. It took almost three years for this one-time state to descend to the lower echelons of the Union Territory. The invitation letter has the potential to bring the opposition into the gale. It does not show any agenda but only seats for ‘High Tea’. This is the first all-party meeting in the two years since Manoj Singh entered the Raj Bhavan.
The head of the National Conference and former Chief Minister Dr. Mehbooba Mufti, the formal ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the ruling coalition of Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah and the leader of the People’s Democratic Party, and the Congress, especially the Kashmiri Pandits and workers from outside Kashmir, have been calling an all-party meeting from time to time. The request does not reach the deaf ear in the North Block of Delhi. The administration saw the moment of launching the Amarnath Yatra to convene an all-party meeting. The purpose of this all-party meeting called for ‘High Tea’ is to get the support of all political parties for the smooth running of Amarnath Yatra.
In this meeting, Manoj Sinha sought the support of political parties for crossing the Amarnath Yatra Nirvigh. It is not clear how political parties other than the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will co-operate with the administration when the ruling coalition is being marginalized by the opposition to prove the supremacy of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Opposition parties went to the meeting with the intention of doing ‘tea-water’ at the government’s expense instead of portraying the opposition as ‘evil’ if they opposed the meeting called only for tea-water without a list of ‘works’. The value of Amarnath Yatra has also declined.
Put aside the discussion of assembly elections. Apart from supporting the administration seeking the co-operation of the Opposition to ensure that the Amarnath Yatra passes smoothly, the aim of the Opposition should be to take into account any future meeting on the political situation in the state and holding of elections. Did these parties have any other option to participate in this meeting? Only Mehbooba Mufti said that a meeting without an agenda has been futile in the past so there is no reason to attend this meeting. The ‘High Tea’ meeting was also convened in a very short time.
Apart from the political parties who have said that they have supported the administration to ensure that the Amarnath Yatra passes smoothly, the question arises as to whether any of them demanded elections. It seems that the participants in the meeting went to have ‘tea and water’ and agreed on the issue of Amarnath Yatra. Sinha also tweeted about the discussion and consent of Amarnath Yatra. Dr. President of the National Conference. Farooq Abdullah, Jammu and Kashmir Bharatiya Janata Party chief Ravinder Raina and Congress president G.A. Mir was the dignitary present at the meeting and all the senior leaders said in unison at the meeting that Amarnath Yatra is a great celebration of Kashmirism and one man from each of the Union Territories will extend warm and comfortable hospitality to the pilgrims. This is stated in another tweet of Manoj Sinha.
Where does this invitation show seriousness? Where is the seriousness in the ruling system of providing level playing field for all political parties to hold elections? Amarnath Yatra The meeting could have been organized to show seriousness towards the Opposition. The lieutenant governor’s decision to call for tea and water the day before the visit shows how serious the system is. This mindset must change. If the political parties are involved in the successful planning of the Yatra, a constructive environment will be created and the political parties will also be able to reach out to the people.
– The views expressed in this article are those of the author.