BJP–RSS patronized, Sangh Parivar political outfit has embarked on a highly dangerous course of polarization to register the desired 44+ in a house of 87 in JK poll 2014. It may not translate into working out the larger design of further eroding JK’s constitutional safeguards. That needs a two thirds majority, a much tougher ask than BJP dream of 44+. Even 44+ could be a daydream, two third majority being a far cry. BJP though is pulling all strings to touch the pinnacle of polarization worked out before in wider Indian theater. Long term implications of dangerous strategy do not enter into calculation of myopic Sangh Parivar think tank. Marginalizing minorities and peripheral states marking India’s soft diplomatic underbelly could have a cascading effect not limited to Indian shores. It could have a spilling effect beyond South Asia into West and Central Asian geo-strategic theaters. Conflict escalation rather than resolution is seen to be in tune with Sangh Parivar’s masculine militarism, and in line with questionable polarization strategy.
JK’s constitutional safeguards are considerably thinner than 1947 work out. Article 370 as per official admissions by independent India’s first Prime Minister Pandith Nehru and his home minister-Gulzari Lal Nanda in 1963-64 was used as a tunnel to transport Delhi devised constitutional measures. The measures were meant to erode article 370 from within in order to leave it as an empty shell devoid of firepower to provide safeguards inherent in JK constitution. BJP wants to complete the process set in motion by political leaders labeled as pseudo-secularists by Sangh Parivar, namely Congress leaders. Three prime Sangh Parivar objectives, namely Ram Mandir, uniform civil code and erasing article 370 don’t seem to be making much headway. Ram Mandir is sub-judicial, uniform civil code is facing stiff resistance; hence article 370 is being targeted. Presidential proclamation of 1965 provides a guide of how to further erode 370. Sangh Parivar sees article 370 as an impediment to set aside JK residency laws, operative since 1927-28.
Article 370, a constitutional bridge worked out to guide Srinagar–Delhi relationship until UN supervised plebiscite to finalize JK’s political status takes effect, cannot be holistically erased, as only the constitutional assembly had the authority to do it. However, presidential proclamation after getting a constitutional amendment whetted by two thirds legislative majority provides the way out. In 1965 it was successfully accomplished after sixth amendment to JK constitution had changed the nomenclature of Sadr-e- Riyasat and Prime Minister of JK state to Governor and Chief Minister, in line with other Indian states. The amendment paved the way for imposition of 356 and 357, wherein the president could take over the state, were internal disturbances or external aggression deemed to be an impediment in running the state as per electorally devised constitutional measures. In other words, it meant imposition of Governor’s rule. The powers thus vested with the Head of JK State were taken over by the Head of Indian State. BJP might tread the path of its beta noire–the Congress, in an effort to provide final touches to demographic tailoring that Sangh Parivar has been attempting since 1947 in one form or the other.
JK poll 2014 is high on Sangh Parivar’s grand strategy. Parivar is banking on two and a half districts where Modi magic might work. In Chenab Basin and Peer Panchal, Parivar is seeking to consolidate its polarization network. Concurrently, it is seeking to divide the vote that may not fall in its kitty. NC, PDP & Congress by dividing the vote that may not fall in BJP’s kitty are making Parivar job much easier than it would otherwise be. The majority vote by getting divided will make it easy for BJP to romp home in some constituencies. Many analysts believe that such an occurrence could be prevented by majority casting their vote for the candidate with maximum chances of winning, whatever the anti BJP outfit, he/she belongs to. Reliable sources relate that Parivar is trying its best to see that anti BJP vote stands divided. Besides the established political outfits, unknown independents with marginal influence are in the fray for obvious reasons.
In Kashmir valley with 46 seats, BJP is yet again devising the polarization strategy in at least five constituencies with a substantial Kashmiri Pandith vote, Habbakadal has the maximum number, followed by Amirakadal, Sopore and one or two other constituencies. Pandiths are being openly asked to fire all cylinders, come out in strength, and ensure hundred percent voting. And much like Chenab Basin and Peer Panchal, no effort is being spared to divide the majority vote. As in Chenab Basin and Peer Panchal, NC, PDP and Congress are making it easy for BJP. And yet again, some dubious parties have surfaced in past few weeks pointing to marginal candidates being fielded to ensure majority vote divide. Poll boycott appeals by the resistance formations fit like a fiddle in BJP designs. For the first time, even the ones supporting boycott are seriously asking whether boycott with BJP onslaught is at all advisable. There are suggestions to the effect that boycott needs to be selectively applied, which is easier said than done.
JK poll 2014 is pregnant with many possibilities–interesting days in offing, any guess could be hazardous.
Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]