In the last 25 years I have gone to Kashmir about 3-4 times and I have felt depressed not only because I am a Kashmiri Pandit but because of the plight of Kashmiri Muslims there. I always feel that the soul of Kashmir looks wounded but this time, it was different. This time, I felt a certain amount of energy and optimism in people although the floods had completely devastated the place. People were much more hopeful. I think they have felt betrayed by the government’s response to the floods and felt exploited by politicians sometimes in the name of religion but this time I think there was a different story.
While the percentage of voting is an indication of people vying for change, the results are a proof of the possibility of development and the people of Kashmir have voted for that. They’ve discarded the call for no polling, no election etc.
There is an increased awareness among people about what is happening across the country. They look at other states which are developing and flourishing. The people of Kashmir are fed up of their own internal politics and that is the reason they are looking for change. I hope that the media doesn’t visit them only in the time of floods or elections.
For me, this election is a complete change from popular regime. I do have great regard for Mr Narendra Modi. I feel that he has changed the whole scenario. Every political leader looks dwarfed in front of him and I say that because he is incorruptible.
We have an aspirational leader who has the quality of connecting people. My wife being a member of parliament…. I know from her how things are moving. I feel that there will be change if the BJP forms the government. Even if the BJP doesn’t form the government, I think it will make for a strong opposition and if the BJP forms the government with someone else, it will be fantastic.
The idea is to see how many seats the BJP wins in the assembly. It is about changing mindsets and that change is very silent. You don’t get results overnight. The poisoning of mind for the last 60 years will take time to change.
In the most beautiful place on earth, the present state of roads, houses and standard of living is pathetic and I would like that to change. I would like to see complete development in the state. It is time people of Jammu and Kashmir are happy and peaceful.
As told to Nupur Sonar