Uncertainty in Kashmir!

The Jammu Kashmir hung assembly is causing uncertainty and unnecessary anxieties. As Kashmir’s winter chill is clearly extending to the arena of politics with leaders getting worried about government formation in Sri Nagar. A decisive mandates have been given to the PDP in Kashmir, BJP in Jammu and Congress in Ladakh.

It seems the BJP is trying to create a split in PDP, NC and Congress over coalition issue.A split in PDP could be destructive since greedy politicians are eyeing for more wealth from BJP government that rules India by joining a BJP party coalition in Jammu Kashmir, ignoring the crude fact that BJP has the capacity to saffronize Kashmir valley with temple structures, conversions into Hinduism, floods of RSS/BJP flags all over Kashmir and planning and implementing Amarnath promotion program by misusing power and Kashmir Muslims.

The general impression gained from rhetoric of top non-BJP leaders show the PDP is moving towards a grand alliance with NC and Congress party, in place of promoting the BJP in Kashmir valley.

The "secular grand alliance" being pushed by Ghulam Nabi Azad or a PDP alliance with Congress and NC is increasingly being rejected as an option, because it is seen as bringing in through the back door parties which have lost the peoples’ mandate. A highly placed PDP source said Congress government and party killed 1 lakh 20,000 Muslims in Kashmir through militancy and it was the Congress which single-handedly destroyed Article 370. 

Many PDP people, however, prefer a coalition government only with likeminded Kashmiri party NC. Latest reports suggest the PDP is now considering a grand alliance with Congress and NC, without BJP (25) in it. The PDP leadership has been meeting the MLAs individually before it takes a final call ahead of its meeting with the governor on January 1.

The PDP, the party which won the maximum seats in Jammu Kashmir (28) is now split wide open over whether to seek BJP support to form a government. Highly placed sources in the PDP have confirmed that while senior leaders and a former deputy CM Muzaffar Hussein Baig has openly supported a tie up, Mehbooba Mufti and newly elected Rajpora MLA Haseeb Drabu, widely tipped to be the state’s finance minister, have opposed the BJP alliance. 

At least half a dozen of the 28 PDP MLAs have rejected the idea of a tie up with the BJP, saying it would go against their mandate. One of the MLAs said: "If we go with the BJP, it will be political suicide for us, It is better to have governor’s rule if required." A section of the PDP is worried that the tie-up will lead to backlash in the valley. "The high voter turnout was because the voters didn’t want the BJP to bloom in the valley. That saffron outfits are carrying out "ghar wapsi" drives across India has sent in alarms across the valley. . 

The pro-alliance camp in the PDP believes the impact of the RSS and Hindutva is limited in Kashmir. "The demolition of the Babri Masjid had a limited impact in Kashmir as the civil societies in Kashmir and the rest of India are disengaged from each other
A Modi-Mufti tie up is seen by the pro-alliance group as a partnership that can outlast the equation the Abdullahs had with the Congress leadership. The fact that the BJP is in power at the Centre is an obvious attraction since central funds for flood relief will be the immediate challenge.

Pro-alliance PDP leaders are willing to look on the “positive aspects” of Modi’s leadership as he does not have a conspiratorial mindset on Kashmir like IB. Modi is seen as someone who might demilitarize Delhi’s mindset on Kashmir and actually push decision making on an institutional civil service level. 

The PDP leadership is fully aware of the political risk it is taking, but blames the Omar Abdullah government for ceding Jammu to the Congress since it was the Congress’s defeat that has made the BJP’s big win in Jammu possible. The BJP gained at the expense of the Congress because it was the Omar Abdullah government which effectively trifurcated the JK state into Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh.

In spite of his pro-development rhetoric, Prime Minister Modi is actively promoting all Hindutva ideals in India, allowing Hindu fanatics, including Hindu MPs, to indulge in anti-Islamic programs more vigorously since he assumed power in New Delhi. PDP cannot pretend to be ignorant of BJP Hindutva designs for Kashmir valley since Jammu region is already under its control and Kashmir valley has been their target for years now. .

The PDP also believes it will have to be very cautious and "de-fang" the BJP while in alliance. This will mean very strong terms of engagement between the two parties. If the BJP talks of Article 370, PDP will walk out of the government and second that AFSPA must go and there has to be a review of the larger role of the army and a heightening of civil society’s role in Kashmir society. 

The pro-alliance camp in the PDP believes the impact of the RSS and Hindutva is limited in Kashmir. "The demolition of the Babri Masjid had a limited impact in Kashmir as the civil societies in Kashmir and the rest of India are disengaged from each other," say PDP sources. 

The PDP says it does not want fresh elections because this mandate is not a fractured one but one that accurately reflects the complexities and sentiments of the people of Kashmir

Some PDP leaders to try to impress upon party cadres saying the party believes it is helping the BJP save Kashmir and save India

If the BJP tries to cobble its own government by imposing a Hindu CM or deputy CM, the state may see a return to militancy.

In many ways, this is a defining moment for Kashmir, one that has forced the PDP to think more about the integrity of the state of JK rather than its own political compulsions. 

PDP leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and PM Narendra Modi hardly know each other. For Mufti, an old style consensus builder in the 1960s Congress mould, Modi is an unknown quality unlike the long association he had with Vajpayee or Manmohan Singh. For Mufti Mohd Sayeed, the dilemma is more acute. A congressman through much of his political career, he moved to the Janata Dal of VP Singh in the late 80s, protesting the Farooq-Rajiv tie up in 1987 that many believe set the stage for the rise of militancy.

The National Conference is playing the wait and watch game while the Congress seems clearest for now: it will support any deal where the BJP is kept out. Making the situation even more complex is the stand taken by the independents. Of the seven, four are considered ready to support a PDP-BJP tie up, while three don’t seem to want this alliance.

Daughter of Mufti Mohd Sayeed, Mehbooba Mufti who is being promoted to be the next CM, had made strengthening article 370, soft borders and revocation of AFSPA key elements of her campaign. The BJP and its voters in Jammu do not want a compromise on these issues either.

If there is no visible change in positions in the next few days, a brief period of governor’s rule is not being ruled out.

Email: abdulruff@gmail.com

 

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