Man on the street takes Azad’s resignation in his stride

July 7th, 2008 - 6:59 pm ICT by IANS  

By F. Ahmed
Srinagar, July 7 (IANS) Political and constitutional debates apart, the common man in the Kashmir valley is not surprised by the fall of the Ghulam Nabi Azad-led Congress government here. “Both the Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) tried to score a point over each other on the issue of the forest land allotment and the same issue has claimed both,” said Muzaffar Ahmad, a college teacher here.

Said Sajad Ahmad, 45, a businessman: “I am not surprised at all by the development. The PDP was in the government and spoke like the opposition.”

“The Congress was PDP’s ally and it lambasted its leaders publicly. What else would happen?”

The average Kashmiri, whose livelihood depends on stability and peace is, however, worried the political crisis might affect the ground situation here.

“Prices are already touching the sky. Supplies are running short. People have to pay through their nose to buy edibles and medicines, and still our politicians are busy scoring political points. They must all be banished,” said a frustrated Mehraj-ud-Din, 36, a fruit seller in the Residency Road area of Srinagar.

If one expected Azad’s resignation to create some sort of sympathy here, that has not happened.

“They rule for their self-interest and also resign when remaining in power becomes impossible. Where does the question of sympathy arise?” said Bilal Ahmad, 49, a businessman living in the uptown Hyderpora area of the city.

The PDP also has not apparently made any public impact by withdrawing support to Azad. People here believe they had a hand in allotting the forest land to the Amarnath shrine board and decided to control damage by withdrawing from the government.

“The PDP happily ruled all these years and then pulled out of the government without giving a damn to the principle of collective responsibility which is the basic tenet of the cabinet system of governance. How do they expect nobody would question them on this,” asked Riyaz Ahmad, 27, a law student here.

Though the PDP activists burst fire-crackers outside their office here to celebrate the fall of the Azad’s government, the people in the state’s summer capital Srinagar remained by and large engaged in their daily chores without showing a palpable response to the development.

The one thing that most Kashmiris spoke about was the need for stability which they believe was important in the trouble-torn Kashmir valley.

“Any political confusion is liable to create further problems for us and that is my only worry. It hardly matters whether this person or that person comes to power here,” said Shabir Ahmad, 34, a school teacher.

“Both the Congress and the PDP messed up the land allotment issue and finally both tried to score a point against each other. Public memory is not that short-lived to ignore this reality when elections are held here. Yes, the National Conference can encash the debacle of its political rivals, but the extent of that needs to be seen,” said Tahir Mohi-ud-Din, the editor of a local newspaper.

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