BJP-PDP alliance doomed from start, Kashmir voters will support NC next time: Shehla Rashid tells Firstpost

Ashish Mani Tiwari | Jun 23, 2018 | 5 min read


-         Shehla Rashid is interacting with Kashmiri youths for healthy participation in democracy.

 -         Shehla Rashid favors Grand Alliance along with fair opportunities for all.

-         Shehla will also fight elections, but after defeating Modi.

 By Ashish Mani Tiwari

Shehla Rashid Shora, former vice-president of JNU Students' Union and a native of Kashmir, recently spoke to Firstpost on the ongoing crisis in Kashmir and its widespread implications. Apart from citing how the BJP-PDP alliance failed in multiple areas in the state, she also blamed the alliance for creating “worst situation” for people of the state. The young leader also spoke about her entry into politics, the ongoing controversy over her tweet on Nitin Gadkari, and the 2019 elections.

Read excerpts from the chat:

Tell us something about your current activities in Kashmir and what’s your take on youth politics in a region like Kashmir?

Currently, I am meeting Kashmiri people—especially youths, and asking them to join mainstream politics. Although student politics is banned in Kashmir, I am making efforts to raise youth-based issues and make them a part of our democracy.

I think, youth politics could be one of the main methods to create peace and promote healthy interaction between the people the Valley. However, the previous government failed in securing this goal—especially in south Kashmir.

You have criticised the BJP-PDP coalition for failing on economic and social fronts. How have they failed? How is it likely to affect the next Assembly elections in Kashmir?

The BJP-PDP coalition was an unnatural alliance and there was no mechanism in the state administration during their term. For example, several state government employees who were hired under policies like SRO 202 and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan have not received their salaries till today (//Fact-check needed//). Despite criticism from various quarters, GST was forcefully introduced in the Valley and it demolished several firms in the state. According to me, Kashmiris will respond appropriately in the upcoming elections and National Conference will turn out to be the strongest group.

How would you rate Mehbooba Mufti’s performance in this polar coalition, with regard to the 2014 mandate by the state?

Mehbooba Mufti has been a shame for Kashmir. Although I was happy when she became the first female Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, it soon turned into a hazardous affair for the people. I will rate her 1 out of 10, just for sitting in the office. Despite being a woman herself, no proactive measures were taken against the accused by Mufti in the Kathua rape case.

While there is considerable speculation over the possible ‘muscular approach’ in Kashmir now, Governor NN Vohra is also remembered for expediting development work and restoring peace during his previous term as J&K administrator (in early 2015) before the BJP-PDP shook hands. How will this term of the Governor turn out for Kashmir?

Governor Vohra could have reached out to people of Kashmir for solving their problems but there were no such efforts.  On the other hand, BJP is creating militants every day in the state. I also want to add one thing, elections should be declared at the earliest in Jammu and Kashmir as BJP is planning to hold state Assembly elections along with Lok Sabha elections.

What do you expect from the Union government after President’s rule?

It is obvious that the union government’s only aim is to rule the state through the Governor. This is an unfair practice in a democracy. This government has completely failed in establishing peace and order in the Valley and elections are the need of the hour.

Mehbooba Mufti stated that she asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to have a dialogue with Pakistan. Do you agree with this statement?

I don’t think so. I believe that PM Modi has not spoken on this issue with Mehbooba Mufti even once. Both the parties of the alliance just believe(d) in controlling power in the state.

Were you in J&K between 1990-1996, when the state was under Governor Jagmohan’s administration and subsequent President’s rule for a total of six years? Tell us what you remember of that period?

I was very young at that time. I just remembered that in 1996 we were happy that the elections were going to happen in the state. Although, the situation was not so good even back then.

You have openly opposed the BJP and the RSS. What alternative would you ask people to favour in the 2019 election?

Right now, I am in favour of the grand alliance but the coalition should be formed on people’s agenda. There should be a struggle for solving people’s problems and not for securing a position.

Is there a possibility of floating a party with JNU student activists (Kanhaiya, Umar, you and others), Jignesh Mevani and other like-minded people? How are you planning to engage with the people in the pre-election period?

There is no scope for creating a political party. We have already started our pre-election campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. For instance, I am focussing on Kashmir and Kanhaiya is focusing on Bihar. We are also planning to campaign for the grand alliance.

Who do you think could be the probable Prime Ministerial candidate under the Grand Alliance?

This has to be decided within the alliance. Every group and every party should get equal opportunities. Grand alliance must be like a rainbow, unlike BJP—which has become a two men’s party. Minorities and other groups from humble background should also be able to present their opinions and views in this coalition.

One of your recent tweets (which you said was 'sarcastic') linking Nitin Gadkari and RSS to an apparent assassination threat to the PM led to a controversy. What do you have to say about that?

This is not the first time that I have opposed ruling government. But the exception is that this time I am getting threats from various people. This makes BJP a different party from others.

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