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Farooq, Omar silent but NC leaders spar in open

 SRINAGAR:  Split is wide open in the National Conference (NC) after two senior leaders slugged it out over the party’s ‘lame-duck’ approach to deal with the situation in the new domicile era of Jammu and Kashmir.

NC top leadership including president Farooq Abdullah and vice-president Omar Abdullah have gone into a silent mode over the abrogation of Article 370 and reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir.

Citing pandemic, both Omar and Farooq have skirted the broader political issues post their release from detention. This, however, has not deterred the Centre to effect changes in Jammu and Kashmir. From rewriting new laws to notifying domicile rules, the center is marching at rocket speed to enforce the constitutional changes in Jammu and Kashmir.

Even when Omar chaired the first meeting post his release through video conferencing, he avoided talking politics and asked leaders to extend help in fighting COVID 19.

This has rattled the grassroots leaders who feel that top leadership might be doing the encore of the past. Amidst the rumblings, an article by Omar loyalist and advisor Tanvir Sadiq has laid bare the fault-lines within the party.

“As a starting point let all political prisoners arrested post-August 5 be released, revisit domicile law & lift all curbs on the internet. Let the end of the pandemic & the beginning of the political process be run along parallel lines,” Tanvir wrote.

It evoked sharp reaction from none other than the chief spokesman of the party and three-time MLA from Budgam Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi.  “Revisit” domicile law? Lift curbs on Internet? “LET” political process be run? Is that all what you are looking for in this reconciliation? If I am not reading wrong, you are basically asking for 4G and THEIR ‘PERMISSION’ to let us start the political process? & then all is well?” he tweeted.

Mehdi did not end here. He went on to question Tanvir about the political process he is referring to. “This provokes a question in my mind. What is the political process for you? Only an election? If we go with a reason and stand our course, even being detained is a part of the political process. But yes, it depends on your objectives. And sorry, it’s insulting to ask THEM to let,” he said.

Former MLA, who is under house detention, said their “hands and thoughts are not tied” as is being perceived by some people.  “They are doing a job. Our hands aren’t tied. Our thoughts aren’t tied. If the objective is not only elections, we are only in a political process. Asking them to “let” us start means doing only what they want us to do,” he said.

Mehdi said many of his colleagues are detained under PSA and others including him are under house detention. “My heart goes out to them and I wish & pray for their immediate release. But, believe me, their and our (house) detention is a political message and process itself,” he said.

Tanvir, who was trolled for his article, broke his silence clarifying that he was not propagating a new narrative as is being projected by tweeple.

“New Narrative?? In which part of my piece did you find your “new narrative”? The basis of my piece is to suggest a starting point & not create a new narrative & for that we need politicians & leaders to be released & sit… For some people It’s easy to comment sitting with your family & occasionally tweet to show how brave you are & question me. I don’t know where all that courage disappeared post-August 5, I don’t need a certificate from anyone,” he responded to one Twitterati.

This is not the first time that elections and political processes are being used as a bargaining chip. Last month, Omar created a flutter when he demanded elections even though Jammu and Kashmir is now a union territory and the new chief minister will be a lame-duck leader.

“It’s high time the people of J&K get to decide the laws that will govern them rather than being subjected to the whims & fancies of the Centre where orders are issued in the morning & changes to the same order issued in the evening. Restore statehood, conduct elections. #Democracy,” Omar tweeted last month.

Sensing uproar, Omar later said he was being “sucked into this debate” at a wrong time. “Delhi made a mistake notifying the domicile rules during this time of crisis & I made a mistake getting sucked in to this debate at a time when it’s wrong to let politics distract from the #COVID19 fight. I haven’t spoken my mind about 5/8/2019 yet but I will when this is over,” Omar said in another tweet.