PDP-BJP Divorce: A Post Mortem

PDP-BJP Divorce: A Post Mortem
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Usman Khurshid

The BJP and PDP government in Jammu and Kashmir, what netizens call(ed) an unholy alliance, has finally come to an end after three years of fractured functioning. The news of the alliance between the two parties which were to be believed ideologically poles apart came as a political shocker back in the 2014 assembly elections. The PDP had promised to keep the ‘intruding threat’ of BJP at bay and garnered votes from the Muslim dominated Kashmir region and across the tunnel BJP had propagated stern nationalism to create its vote bank.
Both these parties were entrusted by the Jammu & Kashmir regions and were each given an increased seat share in their respective strongholds. The message in the poll verdict was clear: the Muslims of Kashmir wanted to rule out the possibility of BJP led government and had therefore made PDP triumph with an increased seat share. Similarly, the people of Jammu had voted abundantly for BJP to rebuke any dissent challenging the integrity or oneness of India.
Before the alliance with BJP when PDP had attained a clear majority in the Kashmir region of the state, a sigh of hope and relieved had prevailed throughout the valley- even amongst those outside the “mainstream politics”- because the outgoing National Conference-Congress government had left deadly marks of mis-governance, violence and the infamous hanging of Afzal Guru. Therefore, reinstating the PDP was welcomed with a sigh of relief. The merger of ‘savior’ PDP with BJP therefore was in itself the first deception to those who voted PDP to power.
The desperation of power had blinded PDP so much that they forgot the fundamentals of party and overruled their own rules to grab the chair, ignoring the potential disastrous repercussions. PDP spoiled a decade of their political work and identity only to grab power when it was cheaply available. I remember a veteran National Conference ideologue happily described the decision of Mufti Sayeed to merge with BJP as, “Ye Mufti keliye siyaasi galat inahi, siyaasi mauthai”. Roughly meaning that the merger with BJP won’t go down as a mere forgotten political blunder, but it will bring about the doom and death of PDP.
The doom of PDP did arrive on the 19th of June , 2018 from the parapets of BJP at Delhi when Ram Madhav, accompanied by the conglomerate of BJP ministers from J&K caught the PDP napping and announced that they were withdrawing from the government. In Omar Abdullah’s words this development came as the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was busy in office work and “BJP cut her legs while she was cutting ribbons”.
Al tough , throughout the tenure of Mehbooba Mufti as Chief Minister, her sub ordinance to powerful BJP was apparent from unnecessary praises and credits to BJP’s Prime Minister, however, eventually her efforts to maintain the confidence and pleasure of BJP drowned in vain as Ram Madhav not only ended the alliance without informing her and her party, but also credited the unwanted inefficiency and ill-doing of their combined regime only to the PDP. The rule of First Come First Serve works very well in politics; the fractured alliance had to end and subsequent un-pleasantries were bound to be exchanged between former best friends, but it was vital to take the lead and to subsequently garner sympathy.
The vicious think-tank of the BJP outran the subtle men of regional PDP and backstabbed them while they were deep asleep on the comforts of chair. BJP played a treacherous card by exploiting the recent events from Kashmir, like the army man Aurangzeb and Journalist Shujaat Bukhari’s killing, in the favour of their interested and projected themselves as heroes before the Indian people. Aurangzeb’s murder was cited as a reason to pull out from the government to give the notion that BJP has zero tolerance against desecration of Army and Shujaat’s murder was cited to propagate the notion that BJP has zero tolerance to lawlessness. As a matter of fact, it is a different thing that most violations of ceasefire on border have happened during BJP’s tenure and yet BJP hasn’t waged a war with Pakistan to avenge its army personnel and that the most incidents of lawlessness like lynching on communal lines, rapes, murders and attacks on freedom of speech have happened in BJP run states and yet BJP has not pulled out from power in any of these states.
The bottom-line is that 2019 central elections are around and nothing works better for political parties in India, to garner the vote bank, more than by playing the nationalism card. The Congress in its last stages in power had hanged Afzal Guru to secure the collective ‘blood-thirst’ of India and had hoped to gain appreciation in the form of votes. On the same lines, the BJP has played the treacherous card of divorcing PDP by first projecting PDP as the anti-national and inefficient villain and afterwards by pulling out from government and propagated its pseudo-sanctity on biased Indian channels. It is therefore safe to say the PDP has been used and thrown by BJP when it suited to their liking. BJP first governed the state of Jammu and Kashmir when it seemed most unlikely, and when it suited them the most they literally dumped their partners-PDP. It also denotes that the only interest BJP had in Jammu and Kashmir was to maintain their political hold over it, everything else like socio-economic development plans was an illusion, why else would BJP dump the people of Jammu and Kashmir when, according to their own words, the state was deep in abyss and crisis.

—The author can be reached at: osiaiims@gmail.com