People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 16, 2004
Separatists Gang Up Against CPI(M)
separatists in Jammu & Kashmir, who pleaded vigorously for a poll boycott in
the valley, directed most of their energies and resources against the Communist
Party of India (Marxist) state secretary and the Party candidate in
Anantnag-Pulwama Lok Sabha constituency, Mohammed Yusuf Tarigami. It was almost
like they had a special target here. All the top leaders of Hurriyat, JKLF, DFP
etc. made daily visits to the areas which evidently supported the CPI(M). Many
activists, including militants, were stationed there to frighten the voters,
even while trying to rouse passions.
is known Anantnag-Pulwama constituency witnessed a triangular contest between
Tarigami, The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti and
National Conference candidate. The CPI(M) has won two assembly segments in this
constituency, including Tarigami’s sitting seat.
separatists, with the help of militants, even told the voters to vote for the
PDP candidate but not the CPI(M) – if at all they could not avoid exercising
their franchise. Admittedly, this terror campaign kept away a large number of
CPI(M) supporters from casting their votes. All this resulted in a very low
voter turnout of 16 per cent.
the polling day, the ruling PDP did not hesitate to employ the state
administration to rig the polls. This included booth capturing at various
polling stations. At a number of places even the state ministers entered the
booths throwing out the polling agents of other parties and cast votes in favour
of the PDP candidate. Such a course is a sad commentary on the ruling parties.
This will certainly further alienate the common man from the mainstream.
National Conference, which had suffered a humiliating defeat in 2002 assembly
elections, chose to appease the separatist lobby during the campaigning in its
bid to divert attention from its failures in addressing the problems of the
people during its long rule.
ruling PDP did not hesitate to follow the same path. Both claim to be the
regional outfits, while faithfully following the dictates of Delhi. The PDP all
of a sudden took the posture of an ardent admirer of Hizb-Ul-Mujahidin through
out the campaign period. Its candidate sported green cap and a green coat and so
did her companions, as she marched along the roads of Uri, giving the impression
that the Rawalpindi Road had been opened by her. Unfortunately, this exercise
resulted in tragic loss of twelve precious lives of innocent persons. This party
did not feel any compunction to put up large hoardings throughout the valley
indicating the distance upto Muzzafarabad with bold markings “through the
courtesy of PDP”. The party gave an impression that these elections were a
referendum on Kashmir and not a simple Lok Sabha election. Curiously enough, the
PDP omitted to mention the pitiable condition of the roads inside the state and
its failure to fulfil the promises made to the people in the 2002 assembly
state CPI(M) while trying its best to expose these sordid happenings, has,
however, felt an urgent need to analyse the causes responsible for such a low
voter turnout in this constituency. The Party decided that this analysis must be
based on an in-depth study, to be carried out in the coming days.
Though the CPI(M) campaign in the Anantnag-Pulwama constituency began quite late, it gained momentum quickly with good response coming from the youth, students, peasants and the low-paid employees who form a majority of the electorate here. Despite 14 candidates in the fray, the real contest was among the NC, the PDP and the CPI(M).
CPI(M) candidate, Tarigami addressed largely attended public meetings in almost
every major town in the constituency, which consisted of 16 assembly segments
and an electorate of 9,98,910 people. These meetings were extensively covered by
the electronic media and the press. In keeping with the Party aim of using this
contest to effectively put forward its stand on solving Kashmir problem,
Tarigami as well as other activists of the Party visited far-flung areas of the
constituency, addressing hundreds of small and big election meetings. Thousands
of leaflets, pamphlets and appeals (in Urdu) were distributed and countless
posters pasted throughout the length and breadth of this sprawling constituency.
already a well known political personality in the state and considered a
formidable candidate, was heard with rapt attention wherever he went to canvass.
The tremendous amount of goodwill among the people of the constituency was
the host of issues, the Party focussed on the continuing bloodshed in the state
and the human rights violations which had plunged the people of the state into
an immense human tragedy. It strongly advocated for a peaceful, amicable
solution of the complex Kashmir tangle through a comprehensive dialogue process,
encompassing all shades of opinion, both internally and externally.
Party also highlighted the burning problems facing the common man – growing
number of jobless degree-holders, the crisis in agriculture particularly in
fruit industry which was ruining lakhs of peasants, the neglect of handicrafts
and the indigenous industry, the utter neglect of basic minimum amenities like
drinking water, sanitation, health and roads etc. It was made clear that all
this was a result of the disastrous economic policies being pursued by both the
central and state government at the dictates of the World Bank and IMF. The
indifferent and corrupt nature of the state administration was also highlighted.
Party recalled its struggles to foster friendship with the people of the
developing world which faced the onslaught of world imperialism. It reminded the
people that the CPI(M) had resolutely and valiantly demonstrated its solidarity
with the people of Palestine in their fight against Israeli atrocities, and with
the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, who were engaged in a life and death
struggle against US-British imperialism. It also highlighted the Party’s
struggles against Hindutva forces who had committed heinous crimes against
minorities in Gujarat. It exposed the role of the BJP-led NDA government at the
centre, which was out to demolish the secular character of the country. During
the campaign a fervent appeal was made for strengthening the ongoing peace
process between India and Pakistan and making Jammu & Kashmir into a bridge
of friendship and understanding between the two countries instead of a cause of
confrontation. The Party held the ruling parties at the centre and the state
responsible for the present chaos in which the state had been pushed into.