AAP Sweep: Lessons For Kashmir

Source: Creative Commons/Flickr
By Mohamad Zubair-u-Din

Call it the divine disgrace or the interplay of stars, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was reduced to rubble by Arvind Kejriwal and his brigade in the recently concluded Delhi assembly polls. There was lot of debate on social and electronic media on the possible reasons for the humiliating defeat of the right-wing party.

The most plausible reason seemed to be harbouring of communal and fascist elements within its ranks and ignoring the mandate of common people who were made to believe that an era of prosperity would ensue with Modi at the helm of affairs.

Back home in Kashmir where BJP and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are mulling to form the government, there are surely a few lessons for Mufti Sayeed’s party and separatist-turned pro-India politician Sajad Gani Lone.

In the first place PDP made a lot of investment in the public domain after the results threw a hung verdict with the purpose to make the people of Kashmir believe that nothing works in Kashmir without the blessings of New Delhi. Since there is a powerful BJP-led government at the centre, PDP deemed it necessary to embrace it to ensure a smooth and free flow of ‘developmental’ funds to Kashmir.

One wonders about this surmise of PDP, which was all praises for Atal Bihari Vajpayee even when it had embraced Congress in Jammu and Kashmir during its first ever stint in power. Pertinent to mention is the fact that Vajpayee-led BJP led government had come up with a Rs 24000 crore economic package.

The victory of AAP should dispel many falsely conceived notions about the inevitability of hobnobbing with the centre.  Narendra Modi assured full support to Arvind Kejriwal and so would he have done in case PDP would have formed government with the help of National Conference and Congress, certainly not as a favour but being legally bound by the set procedure of Centre-state relations.

To be more specific in the lexicon of a common Kashmiri, the soft corner for Atal Bihari Vajpayee was not inherent but driven by the desire shown by the latter in arriving at a solution to the Kashmir imbroglio. There’s no scope for that romance with Narendra Modi given his blemished past and the freedom communal forces in India are enjoying at present. To add, it would be naive to believe that the present BJP government will take any confidence building measures to restore the confidence of the people of Kashmir.

Secondly, PDP engineered its election campaign to set the tone for the massive participation of people in the elections in the backdrop of perceived fear of BJP tampering the ‘special’ status of Jammu and Kashmir. People readily responded and the polling percentage went up even in the separatist bastions like Srinagar, Tral and Sopore with the avowed aim of keeping BJP at bay and also teach the National conference a lesson.

However the results were not as satisfactory for PDP as they had anticipated, but surprisingly National Conference (and Congress, too) came up with an offer of ‘unconditional’ support. PDP had an opportunity which still lies there, to cash on in full. Although National Conference and PDP fought elections against each other with blames and counter blames freely traded yet both of these regional parties converge in their clamour, though apparently, for the special status of Jammu and Kashmir (autonomy and Self-Rule, respectively) and the revocation of draconian laws.

PDP would have been in a win-win situation in case it respected the wishes (to keep BJP at bay) in the backdrop of which people massively participated in the elect ion process.

Nevertheless, PDP is free to enter into a coalition with BJP for what it perceives ‘political’ expediency. It seems Mufti Saeed, a seasoned politician, doesn’t want to get himself entangled into a wrangle with Jammu-based BJP where communal forces might consolidate their ranks and raise the bogey of ‘discrimination’, in case PDP forms a government without cobbling a coalition with BJP.

Here also the think tank of PDP should ponder over the results of Delhi Assembly elections. In less than a year the common people of Delhi deflated the balloon of BJP. You cannot keep people enslaved for long to dangerous communal content. A common man craves for the improvement of the basic necessities. The common issues of Bijli, Sadak, paani, creation and expansion of employment opportunities and the like ultimately matter for the common men.

Beyond any doubt, good governance, equitable development and a strong political will could have restored the confidence of the common people of Hindu heartland Jammu and rallied them in support of the government minus BJP.

However, apart from cobbling a coalition with BJP, PDP sees every other calculation as a stumbling block against their irresistible desire to run smoothly the government of Jammu and Kashmir. It is probably felt within the higher echelons of PDP that in case of a coalition with National Conference and Congress, they may have to share the spoils equally within Kashmir with their partners and own the blame single-handedly for being at the helm of affairs. There’s somewhere involvement of the clash of egos as can be discerned from the verbal tirade the two regional parties of Kashmir have been engaged in more recently.

But we believe that Mufti need not be reminded that “Wisdom consists of knowing how to distinguish the nature of trouble, and in choosing the lesser evil.” If Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav, together, can keep BJP at bay in Bihar, what stops Mufti from shaking hands with Omar, if at all there’s some semblance of ‘sincerity’ into how PDP makes itself appear in the public domain (to act as a custodian of the rights of the people).

Otto von Bismarck, the ruler of Germany, has long back summed up the situation: “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best”.

Without delving deep the persistent demand of BJP to give the state subject rights to West Pakistan refugees raised more vociferously even before the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, should serve as an eye opener for PDP and Sajad Gani Lone.

The chequered history of Kashmir, too, supports and lends credence to the apprehensions cultivated by the laity as well as those having a discerning eye to sift chaff from the grain. Better late than never.

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