Editorial: Ruling party’s predicament

The prevailing political and law and order situation has placed the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a precarious spot. It is a proverbial situation where the party and its leadership have neither a comfortable state to stay put nor a prospect to run away.

This is not the first time when the party is caught in such a situation but it has never been on such a weaker wicket. There was a time like in July 2008, when the PDP decided to pull out of the coalition with the Congress and face the electorate. The confidence that it would cruise through in the elections encouraged it to take a calculated risk, though it went awry to a large extent, when the elections were announced much before the PDP had envisaged, but nevertheless, the party exerted and even sustained a longer period without being part of power.

This time around, the situation is entirely different. The PDP is facing tough time on the home turf. The areas known to be its pocket borough have turned their back in rebellion. For example, in Pulwama district, all four constituencies went into PDP’s kitty without any semblance of opposition. In the same area now, the PDP legislators do not dare to visit the constituencies. A district president has been murdered by suspected militants and a legislator survived a bid on his life. The situation is not different in other areas.

The PDP leadership had the calculations that it would tide over the situation that emerged after the killing of Hizbul Commander Burhan Wani with the passage of time. They had pinned hopes on the development agenda that the party wanted to pursue. The development agenda is not pursued in vacuum. It is always a function of peaceful atmosphere and tranquility in air, which the party failed to create. The PDP’s coalition partner BJP exploited the hegemony and forced the PDP fall in line without raising objections. This attitude brought the situation to such a pass that PDP is faced with many questions about its present and the future.

This is evident from BJP president Amit Shah’s recent visit to Jammu where he showed no qualms in reminding the PDP its right place. Shah categorically refused to engage with the separatists in order to find out a solution to Kashmir issue. This is a snub to PDP that always harped on dialogue and engagement with the dissent constituency in Kashmir.

How can PDP fathom Shah’s wishful thinking to consolidate Jammu and Ladakh regions for the BJP to side line and undermine the Kashmir Valley’s population and interests?  It indicates how BJP leadership is pursuing its agenda and PDP is unable to question it.

One can only hope that Mehbooba Mufti lodged a protest with BJP leader Ram Madhav when the latter visited her in Srinagar on Sunday. The chief minister has lost her face to the public on the law and order issue and going by the BJP’s arrogant overtures in the state, the political turf is also shrinking for the PDP. This state of affairs warrants a deeper introspection.

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