BJP general secretary Ram Madhav made an unscheduled visit to Kashmir on April 30 to meet Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. There is no guessing what prompted Madhav, on deputation from the RSS to the BJP, to seek audience with Mehbooba who is trying hard to get a handle on the situation.
Mehbooba wants the Centre to initiate a dialogue on Kashmir. The BJP feels dialogue with separatists would lend them credence and embolden their supporters. The party has also bluntly told the Supreme Court it would not talk to people inimical to the integration of Kashmir with India.
That creates problems for Mehbooba. Remember, Mufti Muhammad Sayyed was always for dialogue with Hurriyat Conference. He partly succeeded in his endeavor, but Mehbooba is finding it extremely difficult to persuade the right wing Hindu nationalist party to see reason.
The BJP’s refusal to hold a dialogue on Kashmir, many PDP leaders say, is a violation of Agenda of Alliance agreed between the parties. Senior PDP Altaf Bukhari leader has questioned the BJP wisdom behind the rejection of dialogue. Altaf has said former BJP leader Atal Behari Vajpayee attached no riders to dialogue.
The surge in the street violence is piling pressure on the PDP, Mehbooba sees dialogue as a way to ease out tension in Kashmir. A dialogue on Kashmir can certainly ease out tension but the problem is too complex to be fixed by mere talk of talks. The PDP is the biggest loser in this game of upmanship by the BJP.
Its cadre is demoralised to the core because of the prevailing hostile environment against the party. Many have fled their homes for fear of attacks. The BJP needs to understand the ground realities and show flexibility. A dialogue on Kashmir may not end the bloodletting but it would certainly create an atmosphere for cessation of renewed turbulence and restoration of order on ground.
The BJP needs to understand that a rigid stance could possibly lead to the collapse of the alliance, as it would be impossible for Mehbooba to bear the snub bordering humiliation endlessly. Letís hope that better sense prevails and sanity returns to the proceedings. Or else, Kashmir will further slide into a period of gloom and doom that serves nobodyís interests.