Talk of the Town: Mehbooba Mufti

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Last summer’s snub by her ally turned adversary aside, the party wrath and wreck that Mehbooba Mufti faced has now pushed her into a damage-control mode. In her new avatar driven by her old poignant politics, she is now seeking relevance by again showing up at the beleaguered militant homes.

By Omer Gilani

Not that her “empathetic” comeback should’ve surprised anyone, but that it would come so soon indeed became a new low in Kashmir politics.

So, here was the former chief of unified command—the “architect of Op All Out”—again turning up at the doors of militants’ families for making herself relevant again.

Her twin south Kashmir visits—first in Pulwama, then in Shopian—came two years after Mehbooba Mufti’s government piled up 96 dead bodies, besides unleashing a mass blinding on the disgruntling mourners on the streets of the same south Kashmir she once called her stronghold and now frequents to strike semblance with militant’s families.

“No force or military can help us win this war with our people. Only affection of mothers and family will help reclaim our own generation in rage,” she minces no words now, as the powerless chief of the disintegrated party.

As chief minister, however, her arguments were quite different and striking: “Were they there for buying toffees or milk?”

Last time when her father wanted to make a comeback, it was young Mehbooba who made late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed relevant to Kashmir again. By visiting the militant families, she conveniently ‘buried’ her father’s carnage conduct as Indian Home Minister in 1990, when multiple massacres took place in Kashmir.

Now, as her party PDP is suffering from the perceptive dent, for allying with BJP and mainstreaming fringe in JK, she has once again hit the old path, in order to make “pariah” relevant again.

This style of politics made her detractors once assert that Mehbooba used the militants’ homes as her launching pad. But her party men term such talks as a rant to “downgrade” their chief’s “humanitarian visit to beleaguered families under relentless offensive”.

Even as she warned police and governor of consequences for harassing the militant’s family in future, she largely drew ridicule. Her “empathetic” visits are mainly seen through the electoral vision. And in the run-up to elections, Mehbooba’s old guards only make sense, as governor Satya Pal Malik remarked.

Her former party man, Haseeb Drabu might have his own reasons to believe that politics is not always a refuge of scoundrels. But the “empathetic” comeback indeed makes politics as the refuge of tear-jerkers!

This story first appeared in January 2019 Print Issue of The Indus Post.

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