Last week, when IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faesal launched his party - J&K Peoples' Movement -in Srinagar, many mainstream political parties, including National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, had taken a dig at him calling him a state agent who wants to divide Kashmiris.
J&K's political history is witness to the fact of many attempts to snatch away its special status especially by the use of proxies by New Delhi. Today is no different. A party has been created/funded to divide us to make it easier for them AGAIN. Beware and be on guard! #OnlyHal
— Tanvir Sadiq (@tanvirsadiq) March 17, 2019
Faesal responded to his critiques saying that "those who were parading before him some months ago to join their outfits are suddenly calling him an agent." He has promised to bring the winds of change to the valley through his party's slogan "Hawa Badlegi".
Faesal reiterated that he would need public support in terms of votes and finance to run his party and has already started a crowdfunding campaign. A youth icon as many would call him due to his academic and professional record despite coming from a trouble-torn state has made many believe that he seems honest. Faesal and Shehla Rashid coming together have evoked interest on the national front too with many young political leaders such as Jignesh Mevnani and Kanhaiya Kumar congratulating the due for their debut.
Dear @shahfaesal & @Shehla_Rashid: All the best for your political journey. I hope you & the J&K Peoples' Movement help advance the cause of peace & development in our state. — Salman Anees Soz (@SalmanSoz) March 17, 2019
@shahfaesal and @Shehla_Rashid have launched a much needed political platform. Not only i wish them success but also appeal masses to support this effort. This country needs young minds who can catch people's imagination with fresh ideas. Much power to you. U have shown guts.
— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) March 18, 2019
More power to you @Shehla_Rashid and @shahfaesal Hoping that your initiative will provide a much needed political platform to the Young Minds and bring peace, growth and stability in the valley. — Kanhaiya Kumar (@kanhaiyakumar) March 17, 2019
Shah Faesal - a welcome change in the traditional dynasty politics of J&K
Unquestionably, J&K has been ruled by governments led by either the Abdullahs or the Muftis leaving little space for those with non-political backgrounds to make their mark.
It is an open secret that anyone who joins either National Conference or Peoples Democratic Party remain subservient to Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar or late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and his daughter Mehbooba Mufti.
Even as BJP made several attempts to hit at these party by referring to them as dynasts crushing internal democracy, the truth is that BJP holds no ground in J&K. Shah Faesal's entry into politics is definitely a fresh change and may even lead to a change in the heart of voters who have had to choose between the Abdullahs and the Muftis.
There is Sajad Lone too on the forefront of politics in the state, but considering his history of allegiance towards separatists and BJP, political commentators do not view him as a trendsetter like Faesal.
Faesal has the capability of striking a chord with the youth of the state, who consider him as an icon and want to follow his footsteps. On his inaugral address during the launch of J&K Peoples' Movement, the former IAS officer had specicifically mentioned how the youth in J&K have been subjected to various degress of atrocities ranging from custodial killings to pellet blindings.
But Faesal has focussed on development and considers it as a way to bring J&K out of troubled times.