PDP and BJP form Government in Jammu and Kashmir – an Unlikely Marriage; neither Jannet nor Swarg
Some external dimensions
"The Hurriyet, Pakistan and militants allowed conducive atmosphere for Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir," Chief Minister Mufti Mohamad Sayyed said at a press conference following his oath taking ceremony.
His statement, however, earned a quick backlash from his predecessor Omar Abdullah on Twitter.
"Pakistan, Hurriyet & Militants ALLOWED peaceful conduct of elections" says Mufti Syed. I guess we should be grateful for their generosity (sic)," Abdullah posted.
It was the scheming and lust for power of Congress party and Abdullah dynasty which did not allow democracy to take roots in J&K and turned the youth against India , apart from the military and other vested interests in Pakistan and machinations by slimy UK and anti-India USA to keep New Delhi on the back foot.
But India's naval watching ignorant media persons and TV channel jingoists keep on making powerful declarations to earn praise from those who are even more ignorant .I had written a comprehensive piece on the problem in which apart from the people of the state , the subcontinent , outside powers specially anti-India UK , US and Saudi Arabia and other states are involved . .
KURDISH LESSONS FOR KASHMIRIS
The author spent all his diplomatic career of 35 years countering Pak diplomats, mostly Punjabis and its backers London and Washington and Saudi Arabia, who keep the Kashmir pot boiling by providing arms, massive finances moral and political support.
To discuss Kashmir in isolation is sheer stupidity.
PDP-BJP Government formation
Departing from their respective positions on critical issues, the PDP-BJP Government today promised to maintain the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and examine the need for denitrifying 'disturbed areas' in the State to enable the Centre take a final view on the Armed Forces Special Power's Act.
The common minimum programme of the two parties, 'Agenda of the Alliance' released by the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayyed after the swearing-in ceremony, also pledged to pursue Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) to enhance people-to- people contact on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) to encourage travel and trade with Pak-occupied Kashmir.
"While recognizing the different positions and appreciating the perceptions BJP and PDP have on the constitutional status of J&K, considering the political and legislative realities, the present position will be maintained on all the constitutional provisions pertaining to J&K, including the special status in the Constitution of India," the 16-page document said.
Prior to the elections in Jammu and Kashmir it was not expected that the two parties, People's Democratic party (PDP) and Bharatiya Janata party BJP would come together to form a coalition, which would even include Sajjad Lone in the cabinet on behalf of BJP. Leaders like Lone must be encouraged, who have seen how Pakistan and other power have made Kashmiris fight for their cause .The Indian Union cannot exist as a secular state without Kashmir but their concerns and problems must be attended to. It has even been claimed that even police and army keep Kashmir disturbed so that they can maintain their hegemony and reap monetary and professional gains.
The runaway success of Aam Aadmi party (Aap) in Delhi is believed to have shaken the BJP to its core .It is not as sure as it used to be that it would be able to win future state elections and do whatever it wanted to do.
I will still give credence to PM Modi's 15th August speech that he wants to be the Prime Minister of the whole of India. He realizes that he got only 31% of votes cast in the Parliament elections. BJP's extreme right-wing members, some even in the Council of ministers have certainly convinced Modi and even Amit Shah that the party was losing its charisma and public support despite the utter fall of brazenly corrupt and scam ridden rule of the Congress party for the last 10 years, especially during the second half. If anything Modi went overboard when he bought a suit costing 10 lakhs rupees.
Aap party's runaway success with massive support from Muslims and poor in Delhi has brought home to Modi, BJP and even the RSS Masters in Nagpur the reality on the ground .They realise that without power they will not be able to implement whatever promises they made and want to implement. The coalition in Kashmir will assure the Muslims and discourage the Hindu hardliners. The success of Aap party in Delhi has also encouraged the mainstream, even corrupt caste and state-based parties to regroup in the hope that they can together stop BJP's onward march in the next elections in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Why did BJP compromise on its hard edged principles and statements? If power corrupts ,then the search for power also tones down the publicly taken stands and policies. As for PDP, like BJP they also wanted power and a stable and long-lasting government in Jammu and Kashmir, which has suffered rule of mostly corrupt governments almost since its inception .The worst perpetrators in this state of affairs being the Congress party which wanted to have power at all costs and the National Conference of Abdulla family. Omar is better than his father and should build the party from grass roots. Dynasties of Nehru-Gandhi, Karuna Nidhi, Yadavs and Jats , and Reddys are withering away.
The induction of Lone is a very encouraging development. It will give hope to those who are not totally sold over to disruption and to the Pakistani side and have also genuine grievances of abuse, ill treatment and torture of decades. The concerned ministers and members of the assembly can now. devote themselves for the upliftment of their constituents and the areas to make a difference in the life of average Kashmiri. A lot of development needs to be done at fast pace and the Central government should go flat out in projects and other economic benefits to the long-suffering people of the State.
In the north-east of India from the very beginning a number of young, bright and able people were provided space at the Centre and new states in the region were created . Unfortunately, the local politicians have abused it for their own gains and benefit, but then they were only following what was happening at the centre and other states in India.
Kashmir is very beautiful state and if policies make people happy and peace comes it is a paradise for tourists .which will make people richer, happy and contented. An example being Turkey, where tens of millions of tourists come every year from all over the world. A peaceful Kashmir will invite millions of Indians during the hot summer months and provide employment to millions of crafts men also , who could sell locally and also export to India. Effort should be made to include youngsters in civil services, paramilitary forces and sports and games. Cricket is already popular and it should be given all encouragement. It is good that an institute of management would be opened in Jammu and Kashmir.
Like strategically located Kurdistan, divided among three states, the people of Jammu and Kashmir were divided soon after the independence of the subcontinent from the British colonial rule. It is now clear that the British were responsible for dividing India so that a weak West reliant state of Pakistan would keep India away from Middle East and its oil resources then under British and American tutelage. No link was allowed between India and USSR.
Look at what UK and the US have done to its ally Pakistan, a diseased , violent and failed state, then on to Afghanistan, Middle East, Ukraine, you name it. Fortunately for the subcontinent and Asia, USA is a declining power and UK is a third-rate country. USA is receding but leaving behind chaos and destruction on its way out from South West Asia, West Asia, North Africa and Eastern Europe.
The repair to peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan remains the main concern and occupation of neighbouring countries like China, India, Iran, Central Asian republics and Russia. Peace in Jammu and Kashmir, followed by elimination of terrorist groups and outfits in Pakistan and Afghanistan with financial inducements from China can bring development and growth in the whole region.
Let us hope so.
Regarding the formation of PDP and BJP government, I would like you to read an excellent article by Prem Shankar Jha on the evolution and developments in the coalition government of Jammu and Kashmir.
K.Gajendra Singh March 1, 2015, Delhi
Meeting point Srinagar
Written by Prem Shankar Jha |
The agreement between the PDP and BJP to form a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir has been attacked from both sides. In Kashmir, the PDP is being accused by the radicalised intelligentsia of selling out to come back to power. And on February 16, the RSS launched a scathing attack on the BJP's negotiators for resiling from the party's long-standing commitment to delete Article 370 of the Constitution and agreeing to phase out the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
Government formation will not end the acrimony. Before the elections, both the BJP and the PDP had confidently predicted that they would win handsomely on their own. The suspicion will therefore linger that both have sacrificed their basic principles in order to save face. These suspicions do justice to neither party. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed could have easily formed a government with the Congress, the five independent MLAs and Sajjad Lone's party, all of whom had offered him their support. But he deliberately chose the harder option of trying to forge an alliance with the BJP because he understood that this was the only way of making Narendra Modi's BJP truly understand and address the specific concerns of the Valley.
Chief of these is the conviction of Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC, born out of six decades of bitter experience, that they will never know peace till the conflict with Pakistan over their status is resolved. Mufti also learned from his own bitter experience in 2008 that Kashmir would never get a stable government, and true peace, till the growing rift between Jammu and Kashmir was healed.
The origins of this rift go back to the days of the maharajas, when Kashmir's emerging intelligentsia began to chafe against Dogra, that is Jammu's, dominance of the kingdom. Kashmir gained ascendancy when the National Conference came to power in 1947, but it was Jammu's turn to nurse a grievance. In 1949, the maharaja's party, the Praja Parishad, merged with the Bharatiya Jana Sangh on a platform of complete union with India. This presented a threat to Kashmiri ethno-nationalism — "Kashmiriyat".
The 2002 elections, possibly the first entirely free elections in the Valley, ousted the National Conference but the fragility of the PDP-Congress alliance showed how deep the divide had grown. For, as the 2008 elections approached, then Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was forced to attach greater importance to fending off the BJP's challenge in Jammu than preserving the autonomy of Kashmir. The conflict finally came to a head with the Amarnath land scam of 2008, when the BJP in Jammu blockaded the Kashmir Valley and prevented most of its fruit harvest from reaching the Indian market.
The 2014 election results have shown that, far from subsiding after the 2008 crisis, the divide between Jammu and Kashmir has become almost unbridgeable. After his own searing experience in 2008, Mufti was convinced that healing the rift had to be his first task. He had appreciated the promptness with which the court martial and sentencing of the five soldiers involved in the killing of three boys in the Machil fake encounter of 2010 had occurred under the Narendra Modi government. He therefore chose the harder path of forming a government with the BJP.
The BJP had reasons for pursuing an alliance with the PDP that had nothing to do with conspiracies to "saffronise" the Valley. It had gained an absolute majority in Parliament last May, with a vote share of just 31 per cent, only because of the collapse of the Congress and the resulting absence of an organised opposition. It knew that this would not last forever. Its leaders, therefore, faced the same choice that Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani had after 1991: to retain power, the BJP had to broaden its support base, but to do so, it had to dilute its ideology and move further towards pragmatism. Modi had been begun moving away from the Sangh Parivar's hardliners shortly before President Obama's visit. This shift has gained momentum after the visit: in recent weeks, it is not only Modi, but also RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat who has made a point of quoting Swami Vivekananda's immortal 1894 speech on Hinduism in public addresses.
The two parties have taken so long to arrive at an agreement because the gap between them was very large. Jammu wants an end to the ambivalence of its position within the Indian Union. It wants refugees who fled from Pakistan in 1947 to be granted full citizenship and voting rights in the state, and a redrawing of constituencies to accommodate them. It also wants a series of state laws on citizenship and inheritance to be brought in line with Indian law.
But it can only have these if it respects, and concedes, the Valley's need to preserve its distinct identity, its Kashmiriyat. Thus, the demands of the PDP add up to just this: let sleeping dogs like Article 370 lie, and do not disturb the process of normalisation with Pakistan that began in 2005.
With sagacious leadership, a BJP-PDP coalition in Jammu and Kashmir could create a win-win situation not only for Kashmir, not only for India, but also for the whole of South Asia. It would prove to Kashmiris that they have nothing to fear from a Hindu-dominated Central government in India. By reassuring the world that India remains wedded to religious pluralism and syncretism, it would enable Modi to wield India's "soft power" more effectively in the shaping of a new international order. It would enable India to resume the normalisation process in Kashmir and substantially improve Pakistan's chances of winning the do-or-die battle against sectarian terrorism initiated by its 20-point National Action Plan and its 21st constitutional amendment. The resulting build-up of trust could also facilitate cooperation to stabilise Afghanistan after the US leaves.
Finally, working with the PDP could wear down the hard edge of prejudice against Muslims that lies at the core of the Sangh Parivar's ideology. Six years of peaceful, responsible coalition rule in J&K, India's only Muslim-majority state, will therefore go a long way towards healing the wounds that Partition inflicted on the Hindu psyche 67 years ago.
Jha is a senior journalist and author.