JAMMU: Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. If it is former minister Imran Raza Ansari today; it can be anyone tomorrow. The power-play in Jammu and Kashmir has always been witness to betrayals. Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed ditched Sheikh Abdullah in 1953 so did Mirza Afzal Beig post Indira-Sheikh Accord. Similarly, Ghulam Mohammed Shah backstabbed brother-in-law Farooq Abdullah. Therefore, Ansari’s open revolt to Mehbooba Mufti should not shock anyone. Shocking will be how fast the others in the PDP will follow the suit. The classical example, ‘rats are the first to jump out of the sinking ship’ fits well with Mehbooba Mufti and her father’s dream outfit, Peoples’ Democratic Party, as the resentment of ‘very loyal’ is brewing up in revolt and betrayal.
Political power is a greatest unifier. Otherwise, how come North Pole and South Pole would have joined and make possible something that appeared impossible during the high-pitch 2014 parliamentary and assembly constituency in which the BJP and the PDP were drawn against each other as daggers. Now that the pre-2014 bitterness and post-election bonhomie are over, the real test is staring at Mehbooba Mufti rather harshly. She may have succeeded her father and the founder of PDP and gone in the annals of the history as perhaps first and the last woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir but the gruesome truth is that she presided over the dismemberment of her party.
What could be the travesty of truth that the woman who tamed mighty BJP to the extent of making it knee down before her, even if asked just to bow, could end up as a spent-force to her own party cadre. Bidding adieu to Mehbooba Mufti, the Shia uncle-nephew duo Imran Ansari and Abid Ansari had counseled her, which she ignored. According to Imran Ansari, “We had repeatedly told Mehboobaji that some unscrupulous elements and black sheep had sneaked into the party. We had alerted her that the same elements would render her party and the government ineffective. As she chose to ignore our concerns, same elements reduced PDP to Family Development Party and everybody was getting disillusioned. Despite being a Minister, I was never consulted in any matter. I had told her that we were feeling stifled because of some insiders who had hijacked the party. Finally, it was because of these people that Mehboobaji had to lose her government.”
There may be some truth in what Imran said but it is a half truth. Mehbooba Mufti was in full command of the situation during her tenure as Chief Minister, which is why she remained complacent and could not anticipate as to what the BJP was up to. Her over-confidence led the ‘tamed’ BJP make first move, which would have been her last move while deserting the saffron brigade a little later. She had drawn her confidence from the timidity the BJP demonstrated by acceding to her every demand, ranging from amnesty to stone pelters and soft-peddling towards separatists, halting the NIA probe against secessionist’ money launderers to giving long rope to the anti-India elements march on the streets of the Kashmir Valley and humiliate Indian symbols and security forces in full media and public gaze. Such being her charisma and writ running large at the principle political party of the country, which is ruling India, it is surprising how she could not control and command her own flock.
The BJP has played truant to Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP, leaving her desperate to keep her flock together by rushing to Congress top brass in New Delhi, not necessarily to form the government but to send a word to her ‘opportunistic’ colleagues that she might be out of power but not out of race. But the Congress has its own compulsions. It is already hard pressed with the baggage of its own past. The Congress can’t carry the baggage of the PDP, which is why Ghulam Nabi Azad desperately debunked the rumours of any coalition with Mehbooba Mufti. The alarm bells pushed by the Congress middle rung leadership turned the apple-cart of Mehbooba Mufti and the result manifested in Imran Ansari’s open revolt. It is only a matter of time when the virus of this revolt will spread within the PDP like epidemic and make it succumb and perish from Kashmir’s political scene. The script is ready and the wait is just when all the rats will jump out of the sinking ship.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper