Full circle

Full circle

It is now well and clearly known that the so-called mainstream, or pro-India political parties of Kashmir cannot have it both ways anymore. Their manner of collaboration with the Indian state has already yielded a situation where it now appears unthinkable that a government in Jammu and Kashmir could be formed without the participation of either of the two main Indian national parties, Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party. Both the leading pro-India parties of Kashmir have been in alliance with both the Indian parties at different times. Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed crossed the Rubicon, so to say, when he allied with the BJP a year ago thus dissolving the last veneer that distinguished PDP’s rhetoric from that of the National Conference. The difference between aligning with Congress or BJP is that the latter has begun openly calling their bluff. In the current case the BJP is clearly denying the PDP even an advantage of so-called ‘soft-separatist’ or sub-nationalist rhetoric, something the allowance of which the Congress party has been adept at rationing in doses to both the local parties to keep them in line with the Indian State. But the BJP is now out to deny the PDP even the hollow symbolism that the party has thrived on since its inception. By saying that “it is not possible to form a government (in Jammu and Kashmir) on condition(s)”, Ram Madhav, the RSS man in BJP has in a way exposed the PDP on one hand and revealed his own party’s ideological intent to deal with and disallow even a difference of approach in managing Kashmir. If the ‘Agenda of Allaince’ the two parties arrived at a year ago blew the PDP’s self-rule mantra to smithereens, the BJP’s latest stance vis a vis Mehbooba Mufti’s desperation to be seen as pro-Kashmir demolished her party’s grandiose posturing to the extent of humiliation. It is similar to the NC’s Delhi agreement moment for the PDP. As has been often said by numerous commentators, both the parties have traditionally represented New Delhi in Kashmir rather than the opposite. All that these parties have always managed is being slightly different avatars of the Indian national parties serving the only aim of sustaining the Indian structure of rule over Kashmir. That may have had its uses in the past, but given the ascendant rightist climate in India the BJP clearly intends to bring the reality of structural control in Kashmir out of the fog of local party rhetoric. Does it mean the end of road for the PDP’s potential to ‘neutralise’ separatist dissent?

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