Jammu & Kashmir National Conference
||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (April 2014)|
|Jammu and Kashmir National Conference|
|Chairperson||Farooq Abdullah (1981–2002 & 2009-till present)|
|Founded||June 11, 1939|
|Headquarters||Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India|
Re-unification of Kashmir
|ECI Status||State Party|
|Seats in Lok Sabha|
|Seats in Rajya Sabha|
|Seats in the Legislative Assembly|
|Politics of India
The Jammu & Kashmir National Conference (JKN) is a State political party in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Led at the time of Indian independence in 1947 by Sheikh Abdullah, it dominated electoral politics in the state for many decades. It has been led subsequently by the Sheikh's son Farooq Abdullah (1981–2002) and his son Omar Abdullah (2002–2009). Farooq Abdullah was again made the President of the party in 2009.
The pre-independence period
In October 1932, Sheikh Abdullah founded the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference. On 11 June 1939 it was renamed as the All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference. The National Conference was affiliated to the All India States Peoples Conference. Sheikh Abdullah was elected its president in 1947. In 1946, the National Conference launched an intensive agitation against the state government. It was directed against the Maharaja. The slogan of the agitation was "Quit Kashmir".
The post-independence period
In the elections held in September 1951, National Conference won all 75 seats of the Constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah remained the prime minister until his dismissal in August 1953 on the grounds of conspiracy against the state of India. Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad became the Prime minister of the state and Sheikh Abdullah was arrested on 9 August 1953.
In 1965 the National Conference merged with the Indian National Congress (INC) and became the Jammu and Kashmir branch of the Indian National Congress. Sheikh Abdullah was again arrested in 1965 until 1968 for conspiracy against the state. Sheikh Abdullah's splinter Plebiscite Front faction later appropriated the name of the original party when Abdullah was allowed to return to power in February 1975 after striking a deal with the central government. In 1977, National Conference led by him won the state assembly elections, and Sheikh Abdullah became the chief minister. His son Farooq Abdullah succeeded him as the Chief Minister on his death on 8 September 1982. In June 1983 elections, the JKNC led by Farooq Abdullah again won a comfortable majority. In July 1984 Farooq's brother-in-law Ghulam Mohammad Shah split the party. Acting on the behest of the central government, the Governor dismissed Farooq as a Chief Minister and installed Ghulam Mohammad Shah in his place. His government was dismissed in March 1986 and President's rule was imposed. In 1987 contested state assembly elections, the JKNC, which formed an alliance with the INC, was claimed to have won the majority and Farooq Abdullah again became the Chief Minister and under Abdullah's watch, an insurgency against the State government and India began. Abdullah was dismissed again in 1990 by the Union Government and President's rule was imposed in the state. In 1991 the state elections were cancelled due to a revolt by the people.
In Jammu and Kashmir state assembly elections in 1996, the JKNC led by Abdullah was awarded the election yet again winning 57 seats out of a total 87. This election like its predecessors has been deemed to be rigged and Abdullah stepped down in 2000. His son, Omar Abdullah then took up the reins of power in the state. But in 2002 state assembly elections, the JKNC won only 28 seats, with the Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party (PDP) emerging in the Kashmir Valley as a contender for power. In the December 2008 state assembly elections, no single party was able to get the majority. The JKNC led by Farooq's son Omar Abdullah emerged as a single largest party, winning 28 seats. After the elections, on 30 December 2008 the JKNC formed an alliance with the INC which had won 17 seats. Omar Abdullah became the Chief Minister of this coalition government on 5 January 2009.
JKNC and INC contested Indian general election, 2009 in alliance. INC won all the two seats of Jammu region but lost Ladakh seat to NC rebel who contested as an independent candidate. NC won all the three seats of the Kashmir Valley in 2009.
During this period the JKNC has experienced increasing controversies over the Accession of Kashmir to India. Protests against the government in 2010 when approximately 100 protesters (one as young as 11) were killed as the result of live ammunition being fired by state paramilitary forces. A torture scandal was exposed by the Wikileaks, revelations which were subsequently aired on Channel 4.
In the Indian general election, 2014, the NC contested the election in an alliance with Indian National Congress but did not win a single seat. Out of 6 seats in the state, PDP and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won three each.
During Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly election, 2014, INC broke its alliance with JKNC thus JKNC contested on all seats in the assembly. It won only 15 seats, 13 less than the previous election. PDP won 28 seats and became the largest party in the assembly followed by BJP winning 25 seats. Omar Abdullah resigned as a chief minister on 24 December 2014.
View About Kashmiri Pandits Exodus
Pitching for establishment of Truth and Reconciliation Commission to probe the reasons behind the exodus of pandits from valley, national conference on Saturday said the former Governor Jagmohan and not the militancy was the major reason for pandit exodus.
Talking to KNS, additional general secretary NC Dr Sheikh Mustafa Kamal said there are some vested interests in migrant pandits which are trying to exploit the sentiments of their community. “These elements have always tried to paint Kashmir with the communal brush and to defame Muslims of Kashmir. At present also, the issue is being staged so that Musims of Kashmir who are otherwise known in the world for upholding the principles of communal harmony, could be defamed and labelled as communal. The issue is being created to embarrass the Muslims of Kashmir,” Kamal said.
He maintained further that a major chunk of the migrant pandits do not want to return to valley as they are settled well in various parts of the world. “Have you asked Pandits that do they really want to return to Kashmir?. The issue is being given hype with a sole objective to defame Muslims.”
Kamal, who is NC patron Dr Farooq’s younger brother said when Farooq Abdullah was the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir after 1996, an amount of 300 crore was sanctioned by the GOI for the rehabilitation of migrant pandits.
“8 lakh had to be given to each family to rebuilt the house and 20 lakh for establishing a business unit but none turned up. The funds got lapsed as pandits were not interested in returning to valley,” Kamal recalled.
He maintained that it has now become an established fact that the former JK governor Jagmohan Malhotra played a vital role in exodus of pandits from valley. “Mani Shankar Aiyar has in open revealed that Jagmohan was the man behind the exodus of pandits from valley. It was all engineered and we want to have a truth and reconciliation commission so that the faces who were behind such a tyranny could be unmasked,” said Kamal.
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