Will Kashmiris accept a BJP government which they rejected in the poll?
-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
The CM hopeful PDP President Mehbooba Mufti has been in the national capital for days fixing an appointment with PM Narendra Modi to discuss the Jammu Kashmir ministry formation but finally she met the met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at his residence. Both BJP and PDP try to narrow differences over a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) for formation of a government in Srinagar. The meeting was held away from media glare. PDP spokesman Naeem Akhtar said he was not aware about the Jaitley-Mehbooba meeting. BJP after having shown inclination for formation of the government was reportedly not amenable to the idea of giving any written assurance to PDP that it will not rake up the issue of Article 370.
Rival National Conference said that the PDP will stoop down to any level for coming to power. The massive defeat of BJP in the Delhi Assembly elections has also led the central party leadership to address the concerns of the state unit leaders. The state unit BJP leaders have opposed any surrender by the party on Article 370, AFSPA and rehabilitation of West Pakistan Refugees as otherwise the base of the party will be eroded in Jammu region.
The election results of Jammu Kashmir state were declared on 27 December last year but a government cold b not be formed because of the hung assembly produced by the angry Kashmiris. With no headway in government formation, Jammu and Kashmir has plunged into maybe its worst-ever financial crisis.
With an unfunded gap of over Rs 5,000 crore in overall resources the Jammu and Kashmir government has been forced to stop all new developmental projects, one that the state, which was ravaged by floods last year, can ill afford.
It seems the BJP which rules India now has been disallowing Kashmiri parties to form a ministry as it wants to install its own government without majority in the assembly. For quite some time, BJP has coercing the PDP to join to make a government but the PDP has put forward certain conditions that the BJP is unable to accept.
Apart from the comments, the PDP has also released an 11-point list of demands to the BJP, based on which before the party decides on government formation in Jammu and Kashmir with the BJP. The 11-point proposal has demands like negotiation with the Hurriyat and “citizenship rights for displaced Hindus from Pakistan, settled in Jammu since 1947,” which could make any tie-up between the BJP and PDP in J&K an uneasy one. According to a report , PDP also demanded status quo on Article 370 and the removal of the controversial AFSPA giving all powers to military to kill anyone of its choice but by calling them as terrorists. .
It is important to note the timing of the demands. The Delhi assembly election results have given the reluctant allies of BJP an upper hand. Delhi Assembly Election clearly showed that the BJP is not as invincible as it looked after the clean sweep of the General Assembly election. Parties like PDP, who are no longer cowed down by the ‘Modi wave’, are taking their chances and putting forth their demands.
BJP is indeed in a fix never known before after the BJP came to power, thrashing the Congress party last year.
After failing to get 41 seats in JK, BJP had expected a big win at least in Delhi which it would have used to force a coalition in Srinagar. But the BJP got badly wounded and so is the Congress party which is now in the emergency ward in Delhi and no guarantee for its life.
The mandate in Jammu and Kashmir was a fractured one which clearly divided Jammu from Kashmir. The BJP did well in Hindu dominated Jammu region with 25 seats but was not able to win a single seat in the Valley, which was swept by the PDP, prompting the two to negotiate an alliance.
A coalition of PDP and NC is the natural choices for the people of Kashmir. The NC had extended unconditional support to PDP but under pressure from PM Modi and BJP leadership, Mufti parivar ignored the NC promise.
Time is certainly running out and there should be a government of elected representative to manage economy and developmental works. Of course the Governor who now rules JK on behalf of the president of India can also manage the administrative show well but an elected government can make people feel at ease.
Kerala model can encourage the PDP-NC alliance to stay put together with help form some independents if necessarily. The Congress led UDF government is managing the show in Kerala against communists though it has a bare simple majority and if a couple of them switch sides to join the LDF led by CPM, the Oommen Chandy government would collapse like a pack of useless cards. There have been attempts by the communists to somehow woo some of unhappy partners in the UDF but the Congress party successfully thwarted all attempts so far.
Because of fear of losing power the Congress ate its own liquor ban policy to the discredit of the KPCC president Susheeran who now maintains keeps silence on the subject. Communists are not keen on ban on liquor either and the Congress does not want to lose liquor votes to the left parties in the next election.
PDP and NC should need to compromise to find acceptable terms for an alliance to ensure the state gets a functioning government at the earliest and the genuine interests of common Kashmiri people are protected.
It is wrong to presume and fool the people that central government would not give funds to J.K. if BJP is not allowed to be a part of the government in Srinagar. Government of India is duty bound to release the required funds as per rules to JK if JK government, no matter who rules it, demands.
Better PM Narendra Modi explain the constitutional-government position on the subject so that Kashmiris get the point clear.
Kashmiri Muslim leaders need not feel shy of having a government of Muslim parties as the same has been practice of most state in India where no Muslim party is included in the ministry formation and no one feels shy of that. One wonders as to why Kashmiris are too much worried about a government without Hindus! When main parties in India think only the Hindus have the right to decide everything from cabinet formation to governance, why not in Kashmir only Muslims can decide the fate of Kashmir?
The Mufti parivar is only considering the private and personal benefits of some rich Kashmiris with BJP in the JK government. All justifications the PDP puts forward for making the BJP with hidden Hindutva agenda in Kashmir to be a part of coalition is meaningless.
Let PDP and NC form a government and see what happens to Kashmir.
Of course, BJP’s common minimum program includes suffronization of Kashmir valley and take revenge on the Kashmiri Muslims for the exit of India sponsored Hindus from Kashmir.
PDP cannot justify its pro-BJP operations in JK and Delhi. The BJP takes care of protection of Hindus, Hindu temples and culture and so PDP and NC should also care for Kashmiri culture and refuse to fall back in front of threats. If PDP still prefers the BJP to be the ruling coalition of Kashmir, obviously, Kashmiris would teach the Mufti parivar lessons that Delhiites taught the Congress and BJP.