Prof Hari Om
JAMMU: J&K BJP doesn’t know what it says. It offers moon to the humiliated, ignored and marginalized people of Jammu province almost on a daily basis. Sometimes, it promises “Hindu CM”. Sometimes, it claims that “next CM of J&K will be from Jammu and from J&K BJP itself”. And these days, it has been telling the already beguiled people of Jammu province that the ongoing delimitation exercise, when completed, will ensure more seats for and CM from Jammu province. How ridiculous?It’s obvious that J&K BJP and its think tanks, if any, are living in a world of the past or in a fool’s paradise. Indeed, they are blissfully ignorant about the developments unfolding in the Valley, the trouble spot.On what basis, the J&K BJP leaders make tall claims and hold out big commitments? Don’t they know the demographic profile of Kashmir? Don’t they know that all, barring one, outfits in Kashmir have already formed People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (read Gupkar Muslim League) under the leadership of Farooq Abdullah, who prefers Chinese rule in J&K, terms people of Jammu province “different and aliens” and seeks restoration of Article 370 in J&K with the Chinese support?
Don’t they know that all the seven constituents of the GML have been speaking in one voice since August 4, 2019? Don’t they know that J&K Apni Party has also admitted in public print that there was no difference between it and that “the Gupkaris” and all in Kashmir have to work together for the restoration of Article 370 in J&K? And has the J&K BJP forgotten what happened on December 21, 2018? That day, the Congress, the NC, the PDP, the PDF and the CPI-M had formed “Grand Alliance” to frustrate the J&K BJP’s nasty move calculated to installing People’s Conference chief Sajad Lone as J&K CM and enable Altaf Bukhari of PDP (now JK Apni Party chief) to take oath as J&K CM. They had declared that they could go to any extent to “keep the BJP out of J&K Government”. Now, Sajad Lone is an integral part of the GML.Statements emanating from the J&K BJP headquarters in Trikuta Nagar only suggest that they are not really aware of the ground situation in Kashmir, nature of Kashmiri leadership and its ideology and the destination they have planned to reach. It is difficult to avoid this conclusion, which the J&K BJP leaders may not like or reject and despise.What is the ground reality? The ground reality is that a CM from Jammu province is an unachievable goal. The fact of the matter is that hardly anyone from Jammu province would find place in the 9-member council of ministers, including CM, if elections are held to constitute the first-ever 90-member assembly of J&K UT and government formed. So much so, none from Jammu province would find place in the council of ministers even if all the seven additional seats are given to this province and the number of assembly seats in Kashmir remain 46 as before. The J&K Reorganization Act 2019 says the number of ministers in J&K UT, including CM, shall be nine. The point is that the Gupkaris will win all the 46 seats in Kashmir – more than 50% seats in the 90-member assembly. It’s obvious that the Alliance of Gupkaris would capture all the nine ministries and it would be within its right.More importantly, Jammu province would also witness almost total exclusion even if J&K granted full state status and the strength of ministers increased from nine to fourteen (15% of the total number of MLAs). It would make hardly any difference if the GML leadership offers one or two ministries to MLAs from Jammu province. The Jammu province politicians, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh included) must underline this stark reality. The sooner they recognize it, the better for Jammu province and for their political future. To not recognize it or to continue to maintain truck with the Gupkaris would be only to play with fire, destroy whatever is left in the unfortunate and exploited and looted-to-the-hilt Jammu province and seal their own political fate.What, then, is the way out to end the woes of Jammu province? Clearly, the answer is statehood for Jammu province, separate assembly for Jammu province and separate secretariat, separate directorates, separate recruitment agencies, separate budget and separate planning commission. It will enable all sections of society and all districts of the province to have a real and effective say in the governance of Jammu State. The Indian Constitution says that number of states can be increased and decreased as per the needs of the people and exigencies of the time. And the need of the people of Jammu province and exigency of the time is separate Jammu State. It’s time for Jammu province politicians to have CM from their own region and it’s absolutely possible. At the same time, the J&K BJP politicians must appreciate the ground realities and stop selling dreams and befooling people of Jammu province. Enough is enoughIn sum, it can be asked: if Punjab could be trifurcated into Punjab, Haryana and HP; UP, Bihar, MP and AP could be bifurcated; and J&K State could be divided into UT of J&K and UT of Ladakh, why can’t Jammu province be granted statehood status and Kashmir maintained as UT?
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