I thought it only happens in the TV serials where chhoti bahu keeps a keen eye on what dada ji's favourite badi bahu'likes' on social media as it helps in understanding science of shifting loyalties. But it is happening in political circle in Jammu and Kashmir now. If you fail to notice it, you are likely to miss a major political development. You cannot ignore “likes”, “retweets” and “tweets” of politicians. Between them emerge political permutations and combinations.
Since the dissolution of the State Assembly on November 21, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have 'liked' each other’s tweets. At times, they retweet the tweets of each other. In fact, Omar and Mehbooba’s friendly Twitter exchange and sending emoji to each other after the dissolution of the Assembly by Governor Satya Pal Malik broke heart of People's Conference leader Sajad Gani Lone. “Yes," Lone tweeted, "even I think both of you need each other.”
Few days ago, Mehbooba tweeted about killing of a cop in UP: “Reprehensible and a grave cause of concern that other news outlets have chosen to ignore this story. Good to see you take this head on @Nidhi”. Omar retweeted it. While people were construing Twitter bonhomie between the two leaders as possible alliance between the NC and PDP, seasoned politician Farooq Abdullah intervened to put to rest all such speculations. Dr. Abdullah spoke yesterday in Jammu and said there would be no alliance with any party. Emphatically, he said, his party would go all alone in the forthcoming elections.
Only yesterday, former Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu announced that he has quit from PDP. Drabu didn’t specify which party he is going to join. Some thought he would leave politics all together. Some of his friends hope that he would open some economic consultancy, perhaps they were impressed by his drafting of Agenda of Alliance. But today he 'liked' Sajad Gani Lone’s tweet, thus adding to rumours that he might join Lone-led third front. If Drabu retweets Sajad’s tweet in the coming days, people may start speculating that Drabu is going to join the third front. Such is the power of a retweet. Watch his retweets!
Sajad has named Altaf Bukhari in his latest tweet, saying that he has spent good time with him. And Srinagar is abuzz that Bukhari, who is a senior PDP leader, might also be retweeting Sajad’s tweet. Of late Sajad Lone, after the dissolution of the Assembly, is tweeting about the importance of special status Jammu and Kashmir is enjoying and it is being inferred that he is trying to distance himself from the BJP.
However, what surprises the most is the tweet politics of Governor Satya Pal Malik. Unlike his predecessor Vohra, Malik does not shy away from speaking in public on politics in Jammu and Kashmir. But when you talk about Kashmir, you will talk about Delhi and also Islamabad. Malik accused Delhi of committing a blunder in Kashmir. And then came his statement that not a single Hurriyat leader enters bathroom without permission from Pakistan.
But the Governor is confused about the tweet politics in the state. He had said recently in Madhya Pradesh that he never thought governments are formed through tweets. He was surprised Mehbooba tweeted him his letter staking claim to form the government. "She could have air dashed to Jammu and met me personally," said Malik. And Sajad Lone sent his letter on Whatsapp which landed on the mobile phone of the PA to the previous Governor. “What is going on,” asked Malik.
Since then he has learned that a lot can happen on social media. He's started relying on Twitter rather than his fax machine. Recently he rebutted Omar Abdullah through a tweet, saying that his fax machine is working.