J&K: Muftis need power for the country’s disintegration
by Hari Om on 10 Jul 2014 0 Comment

Assembly elections in the troubled Jammu & Kashmir are round the corner. The four major political players in the State – National Conference (NC), Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) -- are busy giving final shape to their respective political agendas in an attempt to win the required number of seats in the 87-member House and form the next government.


The ruling NC, which suffered the worst-ever defeat in its long electoral history in the recent general election, has decided to turn more radical in a desperate bid to restore the political space it lost to the PDP in Kashmir, which is the core constituency of both parties. The NC has resolved to make pre-1953 politico-constitutional status (read semi-independence) its major poll plank, believing that such a divisive slogan might help it win respectable number of seats. ‘Pre-1953 position’ means a local oligarchy under which the ruling elite exercises absolute legislative, executive and judicial powers, the common people have no say whatsoever in governance and the final interpreter of the constitution is the state council of ministers and not the judiciary.


The Congress, which has been sharing power with the NC since January 5, 2009, has virtually decided to rake up the otherwise settled Kashmir issue to identify itself with the communal constituency in Kashmir and in certain areas of Jammu province where the proportion of Muslims and non-Muslims is 55:45. In other words, both coalition partners have given enough of hints that they would arouse communal passions in the State to win the election.


The BJP, on the other hand, has, as expected, resolved to put in all efforts to win 44+ seats and form the government in the state on its own. It has decided to contest the upcoming election on six planks – good governance, development, equal treatment to all the three regions of the state, empowerment of over 1.5 million refugees in Jammu province, including those from West Pakistan (mostly Dalits), who do not have citizenship rights even after 67 years of living in the State, internal and external security, and national integration.


As for the PDP, its agenda is not only to capture a minimum of 44 seats and form government, but also to use the government so formed to prepare the ground for the State’s independence from India. On June 24, the PDP leadership gave a hint to this effect when asked why the PDP is not joining the Hurriyat camp. “There is no doubt that Hurriyat people brought Kashmir political scenario in limelight and politicised the issue very well on international stage. But in the Hurriyat camp, we couldn’t have served people better… But in the mainstream, we can save people from PSA (Public Security Act). We do not want to add pain and victimhood to the people. We need proper institution before as well as after ‘azadi’.”


PDP is working on self-sufficiency and Hurriyat is working for self-determination. The whole idea is that we can only determine self when we are self-sufficient. There can be no self-determination until we are self-sufficient. “That is the reason we didn’t join Hurriyat camp,” a senior PDP leader Waheed-ur-Rehman Para said in an interview to a local English language daily. “Mufti Sahib disbanded SOG, POTA and it was PDP who institutionalised Jammu & Kashmir Police. Political transition took place with only 13 seats in 2002. If we get a bigger mandate this time around I am sure we can bring a radical change to the people of Kashmir. And I challenge, if we are able to pull up all the 44 seats we will resolve the Kashmir issue,” he added.


Even a superficial look at what the PDP leader said would be enough to determine what this Kashmir party is up to. Suffice to say that it wants to capture the highest executive office not to discharge its constitutional obligations towards the State but to subvert and wreck the polity from within to help create an environment that facilitates separation of Jammu & Kashmir from India. It is manifestly clear that the PDP leadership has not appreciated the nature of May 16, 2014 mandate. The mandate was for good governance, development and national unity and against all those who brazenly took recourse to communal politics to polarise the society and win the Lok Sabha election. It was not for nothing that the politically conscious Indian electorate decimated the Congress, the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Janata Dal United (JDU), the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the NC, the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India, Marxist (CPI-M) and so on. 


The PDP would have met the same fate had its leadership, like the NC and Congress leadership, fought election on a negative poll planks or made Mr Narendra Modi and the BJP an election issue. The PDP, which won all the three Kashmir Lok Sabha seats, but got only 20 per cent votes, almost 1.5 per cent less as compared to its 2008 vote share tally in the Assembly election, could defeat the NC-Congress coalition’s candidates because it repeatedly hailed the BJP-led NDA Government – an approach that made the NC and the Congress leadership accuse the PDP on a daily basis during the election campaign of hobnobbing with the senior BJP leaders to erode Article 370 and weaken the State’s special status.


It would not be wrong to say that the PDP owes its victory to the positive attitude it adopted towards Mr Modi, the BJP and the NDA during the election campaigning. Believe it or not, but it is a fact that NC working president and Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who led his party from the front in the Lok Sabha election, bemoaned that he lost the game because he failed to feel the people’s pulse and talked negatively about Mr Modi and the BJP.


One can only hope and pray that good sense would finally prevail and the PDP leadership would eschew the path it has charted for itself for the upcoming Assembly elections. Even otherwise, the PDP has no option but to appreciate the national mood and not do anything that further complicates the already rather complicated state political scene.  

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