With elections due next year, the mainstream parties are apprehending that the hanging may reinforce the separatists call for boycott which had otherwise failed to make any cut in the past. Pro-India political parties also fear the execution may give handle to separatists to further fuel the wedge between the people and the mainstream parties at least in the Kashmir valley.
“Basically the space has squeezed for the entire mainstream in the state. But if Kashmiris get the idea that they can change through vote then it will hit hard the National Conference (in the polls next year). They (NC) have always thrived in boycott”, said Naem Akthar, chief spokesman of People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Political observers believe that the execution has bred alienation of people vis-à-vis mainstream parties and New Delhi. “It (execution) has created more alienation with relation to mainstream politics and Delhi. It has further revived the sentiment of separatism which was dormant but not dead”, said Noor Ahmad Baba, professor of political science at University of Kashmir.
The biggest casualty seems to be the ruling National Conference which is battling hard to connect with the people at least in the valley after Guru’s hanging. With Kashmir put under curfew, the dominant feeling is that the ruling party is simply following the orders of New Delhi.
“I don’t see any problems for us. We believe the people know the facts. Chief minister Omar Abdullah, who is our working president, has already said there will be fallout in general. He has said Afzal Guru’s execution will breed alienation”, said Tanveer Sadiq, spokesman of National Conference.
What is worrying for the political parties is that if the crisis persists it could have a disastrous effect on the polity of Kashmir that could only help the separatists who were otherwise marginalized after 2010 unrest. There are already reports that mainstream and hard-line separatists may join hands to cash-in on the sentiment against the mainstream and New Delhi.
“Response so far has been kind of a defeat if not a rebellion. We don’t know what shape it takes in future. Let us wait and watch”, said a pro-India political leader.