Hot and Cold

Since Kashmir’s development trajectory stalls at near-12-hour power curtailment per day, the figure remaining constant over three assembly elections, the tremendous heat said to be generated by electioneering this season could have been pumped into homes for badly needed warmth. Particularly when politics and political speeches are known to produce more heat than light.

Though governments since 2002 have added policy refinements like further segregation into metered and un-metered people, even those fortunate enough to have been assured their money’s worth in round-the-clock power supply have to suffer from the PDD’s whimsical ways. Lives and schedules built around the sanctity of the authorities’ word are turned topsy turvy when lights go out without warning and come on again a full day later – a habit at sharp variance with the fortunes of the Valley’s masters, which never wane, only wax.

The power issue, so emotively used in past campaigns and in between, seems to be noticeably absent in the current drive for political power, perhaps out of over-use and the huge risks involved in making commitments with no hope of being fulfilled. Not that elected representation has ever been a testimonial for performance matching promise, but the sight of a mighty combine of two parties, both movements in their own right, on its way out must have had a sobering effect on campaign-makers, if only in deference to superstition.

Having wasted so much breath on reclaiming power projects from the NHPC, and keeping Kashmir agog with talk of quantifying losses due to the Indus Waters Treaty, Kashmir’s rulers may have found a godsend in the BJP’s devious talk on Article 370, as a means to somehow stave off comeuppance for solemn undertakings given over a decade ago to accord the electoral process a veneer of respectability. But report cards of two successive governments score the same on the subject. One is being shown the door and the other being ushered in.