Would the re-assertion on restoration of Pre-August 5,2019 status by mainstream political parties of Kashmir impede Delhis efforts to restore democracy in J&K?Almost all mainstream political parties of Kashmir including the National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peoples Conference (PC), Awami National Conference (ANC), J&K Peoples Movement (JKPM) and the CPI M met last week at former chief minister and Parliament member, Farooq Abdullah's Gupkar residence in Srinagar to re-assert their commitment to ‘Gupkar Declaration'.The declaration seeks unconditional restoration of Pre-August 5, 2019 status for J&K.In layman terms, the declaration wants article 370, 35A and statehood restored back before these parties join elections in J&K.The only mainstream political party that has not joined the Gupkar Declaration bandwagon is the Apni Party led by former minister, Syed Altaf Bukhari.There is apparently no way New Delhi can go back on restoration of article 370 and 35A in J&K."It is cut, dried and buried," said a top central intelligence officer who is known for his understanding of Kashmir affairs.Without agreeing to be named, the officer told IANS, "Do you think that the kingdom can be lost for a nail? The abrogation of article 370 and 35A had implications far, far away from the geographical limits of J&K.""Yes, statehood will be given to J&K as was stated by the union home minister when he led the process of abrogation of 370 and 35A in the Parliament," the officer said.
If New Delhi cannot, because of obvious reasons, step back on restoration of J&K's special status, what would be the next logical step for the Kashmir centric political parties in the absence of their demand finding favour with the centre?"You cannot set pre-conditions for joining elections. Fight elections and then prove how strong or weak you are on the ground."Politics and political process is a continuum. It cannot be held to the dictation of people who want to come to power through democracy and intend to hold the democracy at ransom," said another Kashmir analyst.How firm would the supporters of Gupkar Declaration remain once it is trashed by the centre?Well, how firm did Farooq Abdullah remain when his autonomy resolution was thrown into the dustbin?The other problem is how firmly would NC's traditional opponents in the PDP, PC, CPI M, ANC and others stand by it to allow Farooq Abdullah re-emergence on the political horizon of Kashmir?"Highly unlikely that every signatory to Gupkar Declaration would hold firm to support Farooq Abdullah call all the shots," said a senior politician.In all likelihood, Gupkar Declaration would meet the same fate as did the Indira-Abdullah accord of 1975.Sheikh Abdullah wanted reversal of laws extended to J&K after 1953. He wanted restoration of nomenclature of ‘Sadr-e-Riyasat' for state governor and ‘Wazir-e-Azam' for the chief minister.All he got was political power with the support of the Congress party that broke convention and chose a non-Congress leader as the party's leader in the state assembly.History has an uncanny habit of repeating itself. Is it going to do the same in J&K this time?