Has Shakespeare’s Hamlet finally come to haunt Gupkar alliance?

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Srinagar, Oct 24 (IANS) After joining the alliance for implementation of the Gupkar declaration, former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti seems to have written the agenda for the alliance.
To be or not to be? Shakespeare’s Hamlet has finally come to haunt the members of the Gupkar alliance after Mufti’s press conference.
Speaking to the media in Srinagar on Friday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti said unless the special status of J&K is restored as it existed before August 5, 2019, participation in any electoral process was meaningless.
Six parties in the alliance for the implementation of Gupkar declaration include the National Conference (NC) headed by Dr. Farooq Abdullah, PDP headed by Mehobooba Mufti, Peoples Conference (PC) headed by Sajad Gani Lone, Awami National Conference (ANC) headed by Khalida Shah, Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM) headed by Feroz Peerzada and the local unit of the CPI-M headed by Yusuf Tarigama.
The Gupkar declaration seeks restoration of Articles 370 and 35A and also the statehood for J&K.
Farooq Abdullah heads the alliance as the senior most politician and also because of the strength of his party cadre.
He as the leader of the alliance has been reiterating his commitment to the declaration, but he has, so far, stopped short of making the restoration of the special status a pre-condition for participating in the elections.
Only a day back, the NC made it clear that the decision to participate or stay away from the forthcoming elections for the district development councils (DDC) would be taken by the working committee of the party.
The statement clearly indicates that boycotting elections is still not part of NC’s campaign for restoration of J&K’s special status.
Now that Mehbooba Mufti has stated clearly that there are no grey areas while fighting for restoration of J&K’s special status, non-participation in elections unless the pre-August 5, 2019 position is restored could present itself as a fait accompli to the NC.
“It is a long political battle and all of us have to fight it together”, Mehbooba Mufti told reporters on Friday during her first media interaction after she was released from 14-month long detention.
Hunting with the hound and running with the dare has become literally impossible for the members of the Gupkar declaration alliance after her statement.
“If they decide to participate in the elections after the PDP decides to stay away, the alliance would have lost its relevance.
“If they decide to stay away from elections till the special status is restored, then they would be out of reckoning from getting power in the foreseeable future in J&K”, said a keen observer of Kashmir politics.
It is generally believed that taking a very strong posture was unavoidable for Mehbooba Mufti given the fact that she and her father shared power with the BJP that spearheaded the movement for Abrogation of 370.
“She has to atone more for her past partnership with the BJP, but in the process she has dealt a master stroke by making things difficult for the NC”, said another political observer.
Interestingly, through unequivocal assertions, she made during the course of her Friday’s press conference, Mehbooba Mufti has written the agenda for the Gupkar alliance which can now only be unwritten by breaking the alliance.

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