Passing the buck not fair
By pulling the plug on the PDP in Kashmir, the BharatiyaJanata Party has tried to assert its ‘India-comes-first’ image in the rest of the country, and thereby,hope to reap benefits in the 2019 general elections. Though it is doubtful whether it will be able to achieve any of these goals, what is certain is that the party has further alienated itself and closed all future doors for itself in the Valley
In a nationally televised press conference on Tuesday, Ram Madhav, national General Secretary of the BJP, announced that the party’s alliance with the PDP in Jammu & Kashmir had become “untenable” and it has decided to pull out of the coalition Government and recommend Governor’s rule in the state. Going into the reasons for this sudden decision Madhav said the alliance was formed over three years ago with the twin objectives of restoring peace in Kashmir and ensuring development of all three regions of the state.
However, he admitted that the law and order had totally collapsed, particularly in the Valley, incidents of terrorism were on the rise and there was an increased radicalisation of political atmosphere in the state. Not stopping at that, Madhav said during the tenure of the coalition Government, the sense of discrimination in the regions of Jammu and Ladakh had also grown further. However, conveniently enough, he blamed the PDP for all these failures since, he said, the Home department rested with the latter. In fact, he even alleged that the BJP ministers were being hampered from carrying on development work for the two regions.
One has to be living in a fool’s paradise to believe what all the BJP in charge of J&K affairs alleged in his press conference. His admission of all-round failures of the coalition Government during the past over three years is no exaggeration but how on earth the BJP can absolve itself of blame for all this. Being an equal partner in the Government and having a large number of BJP ministers, including the Deputy Chief Minister, besides having its leader as the Speaker of the state Assembly, the party has no moral right to dump the entire blame on PDP’s head. It’s not just unethical but rather treacherous.
The BJP must know that the alliance which it had forged with Mehbooba’s father and PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Syed was not just unpopular but totally unacceptable in the Kashmir Valley. Tariq HameedKarra, one of the founder members of the party and its MP from Srinagar, was all along opposed to this “unholy and unhealthy alliance” and he even quit the party and his membership of Parliament over the issue. Today, he stands vindicated and so do many others within the party who were not in favour of the two parties joining hands but didn’t have the courage to voice their opinion.
For a majority of people in Kashmir, the BJP’s coming to power in J&K was not just a matter of shock but also a huge affront. In the Valley, the party is largely considered communal and accused of harbouringfascist tendencies. The BJP’s failure to open an account from there despite its pre-poll bravado of ‘Mission 44’ is a strong indication of that. Almost all the seats it won came from the Jammu region and the poll results, that way, were a clear manifestation of the regional divide existing in the state. .
Given the fractured mandate, Mufti’s decision to go for an alliance with the BJP may have been necessitated by the circumstances but one year into it, the writing was clear on the wall. The two parties were on opposite ends in ideologies and no progress was made on any points of the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ decided by the two parties. After Mufti’s death, there was an opportunity for Mehbooba to snap ties with the BJP but despite much speculation and voices of dissent within the party, she continued with the alliance.
The decision displeased the PDP cadre, alienated a cross-section of people and impacted the party’s political base negatively. With the BJP having suddenly pulled the rug now, the PDP stands further discredited among the masses and will find it extremely tough to face the electorate, whenever the opportunity arises next.
For the time being, the volatile state is once again set for a prolonged period of uncertainty. With none of the parties in a position, or having the inclination, to form a government, the Governor’s rule seems a certainty. And with that, the elusive peace and stability in the Valley becomes a distant mirage.