While three years is surely not a brief period to judge any government, it does, however, provide an insight into the willingness and capabilities of a government as well as the direction that it is taking. And when the government is a coalition and that too made up of parties like the BJP and PDP with diametrically opposite ideologies and approaches to problems, this initial period is watched more curiously by every stakeholder in order to get the pulse of the government. In the following pages an attempt is made to give a broad picture of the working of the PDP-BJP Coalition Government in Jammu and Kashmir.
In the 2014 elections in J&K, no single party was able to acquire a full election. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) came into the coalition to form government in J&K. The two parties came to an agreement with a Common Minimum Programme (CMP). But the bad news was that RSS, the ideology parent of BJP has rejected it. While BJP and PDP have their differences in some very fundamental things like AFSPA and Article 370, a coalition government would not work between these two parties until stands on these things are cleared out.
Ideological strain within PDP-BJP government in J&K disrupted the State. On one side our military battled militants in J&K. On the other hand , our Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti reiterated that a dialogue between India and Pakistan still remained the only way out for the lasting peace in Jammu and Kashmir. While BJP advocated a hardline approach and want to tell Pakistan that enough is enough, Mehbooba has consistently followed a peace approach . The three year old coalition of PDP and BJP was always on make or break. BJP and PDP are locked into a war of words on mob- violence. BJP and PDP have differences over how to deal with stone-pelters. There has been three- fold approach in rioting and a substantial rise in the arson cases in 2017. From the political philosophy to social-cultural idiom, ever innate fault line within the BJP-PDP alliance has proved to antithetical to governance and security in Jammu and Kashmir. Three years after they come to power in J&K , the BJP and PDP are locked into a war of words both publicly and privately, each blaming the other for the massive mob violence ,rising militancy and
embarrassingly low voter turnout.
The same BJP formed the alliance with that venomous fellow V.P Singh , the PM who called self-immolation protest by student as “Social Justice” . Incidentally, Mufti was the Home Minister at that time, and has released hundreds of terrorists who went back to their ways. It is not as if they are not familiar with this way . The same BJP had formed an alliance with Mayawati to rule UP. That too was a hung Assembly, and the deal was that , she will rule for two and half years and then BJP will rule . She hung for a few months longer than the deal, and then dissolved the Assembly, leaving the BJP red faced.
There is a party paralysis in the state due to inherent contradictions and divergent vested political interests among the two diametric opposite ruling partners, PDP and BJP in the State and over three years have passed but not a single promise made to people by the BJP in the Jammu and PDP in Kashmir has been fulfilled and the two parties were divided on the sensitive issues facing the State. The State Government has failed to live upto the expectations of the people.
Every party has right to have an ideology and cannot be termed as anti-national. Talking about the Panchayat Raj Elections. J&K has 4,378 Panchayats around 36,000 wards. In the past five years 16 Panchayat member have been killed and 30 have injured, now the ‘elections for what , and whose cost’. The PDP-BJP Government informed the Central Government in December that the situation is not conducive to hold the parliamentary elections, so how can they hold Panchayat elections now?
PDP is using different language at different places to mislead people and get political benefits. The BJP and PDP cannot escape the responsibility of damages caused to peace process. Both the parties have exploited people for power game. They are playing the ducats over democratic process of the State.
The PDP in alliance with BJP clearly indicates that the separatists politics will need to be left at way, otherwise, if PDP tries to talk and walk with separatists despite their recalcitrant attitude, BJP will eventually have to stepdown. So, PDP somehow also need to consider BJP leadership views and concerns . BJP will get the secular image more stronger with government in Kashmir if it runs smooth tenure to follow. There will be serious differences that will occur and there will be lot of firefighting on both side. But yes, it was a good start and Ram Mahadev has done an excellent job in at least bringing the two ideologically different parties into an alliance. People of J&K will gain a lot if both PDP and BJP stick to the Common Minimum Program and work towards improving the quality of life of the people living in remote areas of Kashmir and Ladakh. The two things are pretty sure . First, AFSPA will continue to remain in some areas of valley. Secondly the Article 370 will not be touched by the BJP unless and until something drastic takes place. BJP should respect the mandate given by the people (specially the Jammu region). We all know that the BJP will nevea fair majority in J&K assembly elections. The BJP-PDP alliance could be bright opportunity for BJP as it has found a way to form government in region, which has remained a dream for them so far. However while keeping their concern for paying the debt to respective vote bank of both the parties. They should try to run the State, taking along the Ladakhis too.
To bridge the gap between the Valley people and the common people , the current J&K government represents both the people from Kashmir Valley and Jammu region. This is what the democracy stands for where you go beyond your prejudices and ideologies.
With the same thing Government of Jammu and Kashmir needs to change the destiny of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and would carve out a new path of growth and equitable development in the State.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper