When Mehbooba Mufti made her independence day speech in Srinagar on Monday, everyone waited to hear her views on the ongoing debate about the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and the challenge to Article 35A in the Supreme Court of India.
She expressed confidence that the supreme court would dismiss the pleas challenging the legality of Article 35A, that gives the state Legislature power to define permanent residents of the state as well as confer special privileges thereof.
While the reason behind her confidence is not known, a significant remark on the issue came in form of her announcement that all the political parties of the state would rise in unison in case the identity and special status of the state faced a threat.
She said that all the political parties are together like a fist when anyone challenges the identity of the state. This statement came in the backdrop of her meetings with leaders of various opposition parties including National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah.
Every major political party of the state, except BJP, has expressed dismay over any possible tinkering with Article 35A and those in the opposition have targeted PDP for being responsible for the situation.
Even the former Chief Minister and President, National Conference, Farooq Abdullah has vented his disappointment over any misadventure by the central government over the scrapping of the Article 35A.
Farooq had already cautioned about a much more severe peoples uprising than the Amarnath agitation of 2008.
Farooq also said that all opposition parties are united to protect the Article 35-A as the move will have an impact on Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions of the state.
The opposition has already spelt out its programme on any alleged attempt to scrap the Article. Not only has the opposition threatened to create a united front to create awareness among people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, but it has already mobilized its ground force to get ready for preparing an onslaught on any proposed move by the apex court or the federal government.
While the statement of Mehbooba Mufti is a sign of unity among political stakeholders, the statement must not remain confined to the realm of rhetoric. Tangibles must follow in act and word in unison.
The parties should, at least for now stop targeting each other for political mileage and act as a cohesive unit to safeguard the constitutional uniqueness and identity of the state.
Everything else can wait. For it is now or never.