The Coalition that Hangs by a Slender Thread of Opportunism and Interest(s)

The Coalition that Hangs by a Slender Thread of Opportunism and Interest(s)
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By Fida Hussain Sodagar

The 2014 legislative assembly elections in Jammu & Kashmir delivered a fractured mandate. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won 28 seats while the BJP, at the second spot, was able to get 25 seats from the Jammu region. After an extended delay in the Government formation due to the fractured mandate, PDP romanced with the BJP. The romance bloomed and they tied a knot of partnership with a Common Minimum Programme (CMP). The two political parties with enormous and rather unbridgeable gap of ideologies attempted the impossible: they tried to narrow the gaps to match each other’s interests. During the time preceding the election, in their speeches, senior PDP leaders including party president Mehbooba Mufti, claimed that the PDP was the only political party which could keep the BJP at bay and will stop BJP from gaining a foothold in the valley. One of the reasons of a relatively high voter turnout that time, in the Kashmir valley, was that the people wanted to stop BJP from making a foray in the valley.
The PDP had set conditions for the BJP to make an alliance with them that included Self-Rule proposal (softening of borders), revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from peaceful areas, strengthening of Article 370 among other demands. The coalition has gone through an aggressive evolution with BJP becoming the controlling authority of the Government. With BJP government at the Centre, the PDP lost the power to push for the fulfillment of the promises that they had projected in the Common Minimum Programme. Till now, the BJP has strongly opposed the removal of AFSPA and advocated the elimination of article 370. The BJP threw the conditions put forth by PDP at the time of Government formation in the air. There was never a moment of reconciliation between BJP and PDP. PDP had to bow down before the BJP on every front. The people of Kashmir had pinned hope on PDP and had a notion that it will fulfill its commitments in resolving the Kashmir issue politically besides solving the development problems
The PDP got stuck in the so called “Unholy” alliance.
The fractured mandate and political opportunism on part of the PDP has lead to the fractured coalition. The PDP-BJP partnership has gone through a brutal transformation where the politics has rendered the BJP as the dominating entity. This alliance has sowed the seeds of confrontation between the two parties and most of the times the bond have been stretched to the level of divorce. The romance of PDP-BJP alliance that had bloomed on the principles of Common Minimum Programme has been rendered as a fractured marriage that hangs on by a slender thread.

—The author is a PG in Mass Communication and Journalism and writes on various issues. He can be reached at: