A Vote for Democracy

I had been watching the analysis of the Jammu and Kashmir election results on NDTV and for the first time, that I recall – I actually felt good while watching something about Kashmir.

The verdict, which has been hailed by the Prime Minister as ‘ A Vote for Democracy’ definitely felt good. For the first time, polls in Jammu and Kashmir have been virtually violence-free and non-coercive. It was an election where people ignored the boycott called by the separatist movement and came out in decisive numbers to vote. And vote they did! A 60.5% voter turnout!
To add to everything, the National Conference emerged as the single largest party, with the pro-separatist PDP, not faring as well.

Though it would be very premature to call this an ‘end to the separatists movement’ in Kashmir, lets hope, that this is a kind of landmark, a turning point for the Jammu and Kashmir region. It has been hailed as a sign of trust by the J&K voters in the Indian democratic system.There are people argueing that the voters’ have voted for governance and development, keeping autonomy out of the elections. Even if that maybe so – if the voter turnout was this high – surely, it is an indication that they felt that their vote would amount to something, that the democratic system in India, with all its problems – is still democratic, that people’s voices will be heard. That, itself, if you ask me, is a huge triumph for India.

The true test would be for the newly elected government to show that they live up to the voters’ expectations. I am hoping that this is the first step towards outing the separatist movement in Kashmir.

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20 thoughts on “A Vote for Democracy

  1. This News delighted me too πŸ™‚ I read in DNA that this is also a potent tool in our hands to counter Pakistan’s propaganda on Kashmir. I agree πŸ™‚

  2. Yes Smitha, this is a heartening development indeed, though it might be foolhardy to rush to the conclusion that this is a vote against separatism. I have known and watched Kashmir very closely since I was a kid.

    With Pakistan rapidly becoming a failed state and more and more parts of it falling into the hands of Islamic extremists, things might begin to change in Kashmir Valley for the better. Now it is up to the leaders to show the way. Will they? Can they?

  3. Yes, Smitha, we were watching the news all day yesterday, too. πŸ™‚

    The large turnout to vote and the poll results in Kashmir were certainly very heartening.

    The only discordant note was struck by the Abdullahs who talked as if Kashmir was their private fifedom and not a state of Democratic India.

  4. It definitely is a step in the right direction….
    but as a newspaper headlines say today…
    “Democracy has won, now politics will start”….

    but yes, I am delighted at the 60 % voter turnout…

  5. This needs to be followed by some serious governance and development work.

    In the past Abdullah family has been accused of massive corruption and nepotism. It is important that central resources to the state are not squandered and genuine development takes place.

    After all this is a vote for roads, water, electricity, education and jobs.

    I sincerely hope that the common man does not have to face disillusionment again.

  6. A truly heartening development, Smitha…

    Not much news coverage has been given in Pakistani media…Only one small item in The Dawn which says there was a 50% voter turnout in Indian Occupied Kashmir…

  7. Smitha, the turnout was amazing, even in Srinagar. I remember a decade back it used to be 2% or at least 10%… Now it is upto the J&K leaders to justify the faith reposed in them by the electorate and that's where India as a whole fails… Hope there will be some surprise from J&K.

  8. @IHM, It was wonderful to see the results, wasn’t it?
    @Vinod, I agree that it is premature to think that this is a vote against separatism, lets just hope that this is a start!

    @Manju, You are right – the sad thing is that this kind of ‘private fifedom’ is becoming a norm in almost every state now.. Guess we as a whole like to vote for ‘Kings and Queens’ πŸ™‚ Lets hope they do some real work for a change.

    @Ajit – That was a nice one ‘ Democracy has won, now politics will start’ Lets hope that the newly elected gov show some wisdom and do some good for a change ..

    @Mavin, You are right – ‘This needs to be followed by some serious governance and development work.’ Lets hope that the Abdullah family does some devlopment work and helps improve the plight of the common man in Kashmir.

    @Bones – Yes, it is heartening. As for the Pakistani Media not covering this – not surprising is it? They surely would not want to give any credibilty to the Indian democracy – especially where Kashmir is concerned.

  9. @Pradeep, Sorry abt missing our yout comment. You are right 'Now it is upto the J&K leaders to justify the faith reposed in them by the electorate and that's where India as a whole fails… ' I do hope that this time – they do not. Hopefully they do realise how crucial it is. Already, if you see, Pakistan is dismissing it. So all the more reason that the new govt performs and performs such that the separatists will have no support! Lets hope for the best.

  10. Democracy is meaningless without empowerment. So lets work on that part now. Both the people in Jammu and in Srinagar feel disenfranchised even though they can vote.

  11. @LVS, You are so right. This is precisely what the newly elected government and the Indian Centre should work towards. Hopefully, this time, things will be different.

  12. Who ever will become CM this time the must deliver, its high time for government. J&K need peace and prosperity like other state. I just hope and keep finger cross that this time governent will be able to turn around the table and in coming we will have same kashmir as we had before 1989 upsrising.

  13. I completely agree with you .

    The recent assembly elections in various states, including the one in J&K, have shown that there is slow but sure change taking place in the Indian electorate. This bodes well for our country.

    I have a lot of hopes on the youth of the country, and do believe that Omar would probably prove to be a better CM than most others. I have my fingers crossed though. I do hope and pray that he succeeds and proves that the younger generation is ready to take the baton from our old foggies.

  14. Really a welcome change πŸ™‚
    I am really happy about the peaceful conduction of elections..
    Kudos to election commission..
    Sepratists are now rubbing their nose in the dirt..
    Very nice post πŸ™‚

  15. @JPJ, Yes, It is definitely indicative of the fact that ‘there is slow but sure change taking place in the Indian electorate’. And it would be great to see more young people entering into politics. I would be happier though if some young people who have no family connections in politicians also enter politics!

    @Kanagu, It is definitely a welcome change. Lets hope the new govt performs as per expectations – so that the separatists would really be ‘rubbing their nose in the dirt’

  16. Yes the Voting percentage was a real surprise.Let us congratulate the Central Government in having the guts not to postpone elections fearing total boycott[as many pundits predicted].PDP improved by about 5 seats.We should also complement the PDP for accepting the Election result readily.Their soft separatism can only be defeated by making staying with India more attractive than separation.Here BJP’s stand is very important. The Civilian Govt in Pakistan might also have helped in peaceful polls by reducing the support to militants.

  17. @Charakan, Welcome! As you say, the real challenge is in making ‘making staying with India more attractive than separation’. And yes, PDP has ben quite graceful in their acceptance of the verdict – probably the sign of our maturing democracy – fingers crossed!

  18. Here thru IHM's link.

    Nice post. Am hopeful too.

    This victory fills me with the same joy that the Delhi & the Rajasthan victories have! The people have voted against separatism, against dirty politicking. They've voted in people who spoke the language of oneness.

    It has taught me that as long as good leaders are available, the people will respond.

    Let's wish the guy all the best. So help him God.

  19. @1conoclast, Welcome to my blog! Yes, I am hopeful too, that this time it will be different.. Lets just hope that the new govt does not disappoint.

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