For the past two days, National Conference president and five-time former chief minister Farooq Abdullah is back in the open with Kashmir-centric political messaging as he called the domicile policy for J&K as “illegal and unconstitutional” which he seems to be using as a stepping stone for staging a comeback in the politically vacant space in Kashmir .
Farooq Abdullah, 83, ventured out in public this weekend for the first time since release from more than seven-month long detention under PSA in March this year.
He was detained on August 5, the day special status of the erstwhile state was quashed.
His focus is on seeking reversal of the August 5 decision of scrapping of Article 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution.
He has chosen this theme carefully to curate the political narrative that has the potential to become a rallying point for all Kashmir-centric groups.
“Why should I comment on something that is unconstitutional and illegal,” he told reporters in south Kashmir on Sunday. Everything that they (Delhi) have done since August 5 last year is unconstitutional and illegal, and we are for the restoration of the pre-August 5 status,” he said.
All eyes were fixed on Farooq Abdullah after his release in March as he had been maintaining a discreet silence.
Of late, however, his party, National Conference, has issued statements calling for reversal of the August 5 decision of doing away with the special status of J&K.
His appearances in public have dropped sufficient hints as to how Farooq Abdullah would move forward.
In 1990s, during the peak of militancy, he was written off politically, but he staged a comeback with a bang in 1996 as chief minister with NC securing a two-third majority in the Assembly polls on the autonomy planks.
Post 2002, he spent most of his time in Parliament.
The drastically changed things on the ground where mainstream was ridiculed for its alliances with Delhi had posed a problem for leaders like Farooq.
Now, since the people are looking for a door to knock at, Farooq Abdullah’s reappearance in public life is seen as a prelude to rally around other Kashmir-centric groups to his political platform sooner than later.