On Kashmir’s Politics: Privations, Permutations and Combinations

On Kashmir’s Politics: Privations, Permutations and Combinations

By Fayaz Ganie

It took great deliberations and time for the parties to knit a coalition in Jammu and Kashmir. They kept the state in uncertainty at two occasions and created a coalition which they called revolutionary step in the history of the politics of the state, a respect towards the aspirations of the electorate of the two main regions of the state. But, there was a sensational end to this coalition which made fun of all the preparations, deliberations and decisions that were conducted and reached in building the coalition. The unexpected pull out by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) broke down the coalition into shreds and pieces and the traces of which would thrown to oblivion shortly.
The two parties in the coalition were diametrically opposite ideologically as per the constituencies they had. They fought against each other and went to any extent to down play the other. They used all the available resources and employed all the great minds at their disposal to outwit the other. There was no possibilities and expectations that the parties will come together to form the government. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in particular had made its position clear that the party can never be part of any government with the BJP. But, the party decided against all expectations and calculations.
The visionary leadership of the party, as the party called it, decided to form the government with the BJP thereby falsifying all its clams to keep the BJP out of power. Many reasons were given for this U-turn and to create this coalition and everything was presented in the best interests of the people of the state. The Agenda of Alliance (AoA) was agreed upon and many important promises were made in this agenda. The patron of the PDP, late Mufti Mohammed Syed, called it a step towards the resolution of the Kashmir conflict. According to him, the BJP with such an absolute majority at the Centre alone is capable of resolving the conflict.
Things started falling apart immediately after the formation of the coalition. Though the government was headed by the PDP but nowhere was it apparent that this party was in command or control. At every instance and every time, the party kept losing both within the government and outside. Within, the government was not run as per the wishes and aspirations of the party and outside the party kept losing its constituency. The BJP was happy in the erosion of the constituency of the PDP. The BJP defeated its foe by making friends with the foe for it could not have done that any other way.
The BJP used the PDP in whatever way the leadership of the former party wanted and wished. The promises to the late Chief Minister of the state were all broken and the PDP ministers remained happy with holding their chairs. Once the leader died, it took the PDP further two months to decide about whether to remain in the coalition or to get out. The party decided in favor of the continuance of the coalition. The decision to continue the coalition was expected to be a well thought out strategy with assurances from the BJP leadership. However, everything worked as it used to work during the Chief Ministership of the late CM.
Like a master, the BJP leaders kept working and like the slaves the PDP obeyed the dictates of the masters. At every instant the BJP was in command but the PDP leadership failed to take independent decisions. The PDP literally became an adjunct of the BJP. The PDP even lost control over the government and the government of the state was run from the Prime Minister’s and Home Minister’s Office.
It was all scripted for the BJP and the PDP failed to see what actually was in the script. They were kept unaware even when the BJP decided to pull out from the government. Most of the ministers of the PDP including the Chief Minister were working when the decision was announced by the BJP. All were in the shock and were not able to explain that what went wrong where and how. Because the PDP like a loyal servant had done no wrong to the BJP and kept acting as and how the BJP wished and liked.
All these years, the PDP failed to perceive that the party was only a pawn in the hands of the BJP. The BJP was gaining less in the state politics than it was gaining in the national politics by using the PDP. The PDP was another item for the BJP to use and throw and for the elections of 2019 the first item they threw was the PDP, they lost nothing but could gain much more. All the leaders and analysts and experts of the PDP were made to bite the dust at the site of the first expediency that came in the BJP’s way. Throughout this period, it was a one sided affair where the PDP remained in love while as the other party was only running to ruin the love story and eventually the love and the love story have both been dumped.
Politics is a game where there are no permanent friends and foes and the only permanent thing is the interests of the parties. Once a party feels that interests can be served by creating a political formulation, the party wastes no time in creating that and building that. At the same time, if greater interests can be seen forthcoming from the breaking of the same formulation, no time is wasted here too. This behavior of political parties in politics enjoin upon every party in a coalition to keep a close eye on its coalition partner than any other party. The same was the case with the PDP.
But the PDP acted differently. The party blindly trusted the BJP and the leadership of the BJP. In their blind trust, they failed to remember the basic “laws” of politics. They remained glued to their chairs even when they knew that the BJP had called its legislators to Delhi. Just before the BJP was to announce the breakup of the coalition, the PDP should have pulled itself out of the coalition. This could have given an advantageous position to the PDP and would have ruined all the machinations of the BJP. The BJP would have got the blow of life. The PDP failed to pay the betrayal in kind.
Once the coalition was broken by the BJP another concept of politics could have come into play. This was the concept of revenge, the party which has betrayed deserves to be revenged, especially in case of the BJP and PDP relations where the latter party had remained loyal and suffered dearly. The revenge could have been in the form of the efforts with the ideologically similar parties to form the government. No doubt the parties had refused to support the PDP in the first instance but in politics the refusal is a strategy not a final decision.
The refusal was in no way more strong than the rivalry that was there between the BJP and the PDP before the 2014 elections. The government could have been formed and for that the PDP should have made efforts but the party it seems is sitting still and doing nothing post coalition breakup. Had the PDP acted differently it would have been a shock to the BJP. The BJP which rules the state directly now in the garb of the Governor’s rule could have been prevented to do so and made to respect the people of the state but the PDP seems not interested. But, all this has come to naught, given the PDP’s politics and approach to it thereof.

The author can be reached at: fayaz.greatstep@gmail.

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