New Delhi – Apparently, Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra has indicated that the state will be under the prolonged Governor’s rule as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), hitherto coalition partners of the Mufti Mohammad Syed government are having differences over the nature of their alliance. Hohra had last week asked both the parties whether they will form government in the state again. But nobody knows when Jammu and Kashmir will have a new government. Will it be the same coalition between the PDP and BJP that ruled the state until the death of late Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed? Or, will it see a new coalition between the PDP and the Congress that some are talking about? Or, will the political impasse prolong the present Governor rule, ultimately leading to fresh elections in the sensitive state?
Well, a close friend who occupied a very important office in the Mufti regime says that though things are not fine between the PDP and the BJP at the moment, these would be sorted out eventually. Mufti’s daughter Mehbooba Mufti, who is now the supremo of the PDP, is said to be playing tough. In fact, the so-called liberal establishment in the country is literally pouring uninvited suggestions through newspaper Opeds and television studios on Mehbooba that she must practice “secular politics” by parting ways with the “communal” BJP and “fascist” Narendra Modi. On the other hand, Mehbooba’s party colleagues are indicating through the media that the coalition can only continue by added terms and conditions in the “agenda for alliance” that was agreed upon earlier between the PDP and BJP under Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. On its part, the BJP does not seem to be in a mood for new terms and conditions.
Apparently, Mehbooba is hurt that Prime Minister Modi has failed to keep up his promise of giving the state a liberal financial package, something that demoralised a great deal or her late father. She is also said to have not appreciated the fact that Modi did not visit the late Chief Minister in a Delhi hospital where he was ailing and subsequently died. Though Modi was present at the send-off of Mufti’s dead body back to Kashmir, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi proved to be a much better mourner by personally visiting Mufti’s house in Srinagar. Besides, by joining hands with the BJP, Mehbooba is believed to be of the opinion that the PDP is losing its principal support base in the Kashmir valley, particularly when the RSS is trying to have a presence in the valley and imposing a ban on the consumption of beef (it may be noted here that the ban on beef was ordered by the High Court, not BJP or the RSS. In any case, normally Kashmiris do not consume beef; if it is now there, that has to do with the growing Islamisation of the Valley under “Wahabism”, to which all the separatist leaders belong).
Personal equations in politics are always important. And there are merits in the argument that Prime Minister Modi’s style of functioning alienates friends, not to talk of enemies. But then the fact also remains that politics ultimately reflects ground realities, not lofty sentiments. And the hard reality in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is that in an 87-member Assembly, only the PDP with 27 and BJP with 25 legislators can give together a stable government. No other coalition, say PDP-Congress or BJP-National Conference, will have the majority. If at all a coalition can be managed with the support of some independents, that government will be not only unstable but also highly non-representative. After all, neither the PDP nor the Congress nor the National Conference has much representation in the present Assembly from the Jammu and Ladakh regions. That means that any coalition other than the PDP-BJP will only be representing the Kashmir valley, not the state of Jammu and Kashmir as such.
It is worth mentioning here that in the wake of the growing separatist tendencies and Pakistan’s proxy wars in the state, we generally give more emphasis on law and order in the valley, neglecting in the process the pathetic governance of the state for decades. Everybody tends to talk of only the Kashmir valley, giving an impression that Jammu and Ladakh simply do not exist. So much so that now the dictum is that no person from Jammu and Ladakh could ever become Chief Minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. As a result, a Chief Minister, who is solely dependent upon the Kashmiri vote bank alone for gaining and retaining power, is bound to cultivate the Kashmiri electorate by all sorts of administrative measures and do more and more for the valley. A policy of regional discrimination has thus emerged.
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