KASHMIR LIFE (KL): Last month in Jammu, Congress’ internal splits came to be displayed externally. How would you define these skirmishes?
RAJANI PATIL (RP): Moments that you are labelling as a skirmish, we don’t see it that way. Everyone has a way of putting across their point. The leaders, on whom fingers are being raised, are also our leaders and had written to the party President before expressing themselves publically.
KL: Why was a grand reception organized by JKPCC for Ghulam Nabi Azad on the first day in Jammu and why was it shunned later?
RP: I would like to put it this way that after working for over four decades as a politician and retiring as leader of the opposition, when one goes to his home, the locals will obviously organize a grand reception including his NGO workers. Now who shuns it and why is their prerogative. I personally believe that he has always been a very good leader, respected by people belonging to different political opinions, so people should understand when their leader wants to express something.
KL: JKPCC President Ghulam Ahmad Mir has lost the 2014 assembly polls, 2019 parliament polls himself and now his son lost even a DDC segment. Does Congress lack leaders to replace him?
RP: We would like to examine all the possibilities. In Jammu and Kashmir, it not always about the lack of leaders or replacements but more about the kind of harassment political leaders face while campaigning. The fear, threat and shrinking space for dissenting voices is also a key factor that marks wins and losses in Jammu and Kashmir politics. Leaders who protest are detained, leaders who want to campaign are harassed, and god help you if you are on the wrong side of the ruling party! I will give you a very recent example, our leadership along with GA Mir sahib and myself were detained for exercising our right to protest against the rising LPG and diesel prices outside Press Club Jammu. We were not talking about something controversial, it was a protest highlighting inflation in prices, yet we were detained. How does one operate and win in such a closed space?
KL: Congress hasn’t done well across Jammu and Kashmir since 2014. With no seat in Jammu and Kashmir Parliament and no gains in the DDC Elections as well. Why do you think the Congress hasn’t been able to row its boat?
KL: Why do you feel the local parties like National Conference (JKNC), People’s Conference (JKPC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) outperformed the Congress, would you say their local presence outcasts national parties like Congress?
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As non-local mining concerns bagged most of the mining works across Kashmir, tendered at the peak of internet shutdown, thousands of people have been rendered jobless, reports Umar Mukhtar
With the Covid-19 pandemic dictating a new regime, most of the activities of life are getting into virtual mode. Owing to the communication blockade, Kashmir has finally managed its hiccups and is trying to manage the digital deficit. Shakir Ashraf reports about Kashmir’s new online stores
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THE VERSATILE: VICE-CHANCELLOR
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‘THE FEAR, THREAT AND SHRINKING SPACE FOR DISSENT IS A KEY FACTOR THAT MARKS WINS AND LOSSES IN KASHMIR'
Rajani Patil is a third-generation politician. Her grandfather, Ganesh Pingle, a member of the Gadar Movement, was hanged in Lahore by the British in 1915. Her mother, Shantabai Pingle married her father, Baram Patil while they were imprisoned by the British. The former Congress MP is now in-charge General Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir. Ms Patil to Tarushi Aswani about recent developments and challenges that shape party politics and mainstream politics in a post 370 Jammu and Kashmir.
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DOES MY EMPLOYER HAVE TO SAY IF A COWORKER HAS THE VIRUS?
Does my employer have to say if a coworker has the virus?