In a state of limbo

By K.N. Pandita

Formation of a government in J&K remains in limbo. On the face of it, there is a divide between two main regions of the State. The Muslim majority valley did not yield a single seat to the right wing BJP while BJP grabbed 25 seats in only Jammu.

Congress, previously in coalition with NC, has bagged 12 seats but both in Jammu and Srinagar region, not a single seat has gone to a non-Muslim Congressman.

An alliance between PDP and Congress will leave out Jammu from being represented in the government.

Alliance between BJP and NC with NC grabbing the post of deputy chief minister does not carry a tag like the one that PDP-Congress would carry. In other words, PDP-Congress alliance will have absolutely no credibility whatsoever as it will be a government of forty Muslims members ruling over uncompromising Jammu region. In national scenario, Congress will be most uncomfortable with this type of alliance.

Congress understands its position. Its refrain is that it would join only a secularist party. How will it justify its secularist credential with no non-Muslim member on its side?

Congress is making hectic efforts to induce PDP to accept its offer of coalition. The purpose is to keep BJP out of power. Engineer Rashid, who has been returned from Langet constituency, says he will go with PDP-Congress coalition to keep BJP out of power. Even the lone CPI (M) leader joins issues with Engr. Rashid.

Congress leadership, Azad, Soz, Salman and others have become the spokesmen of PDP saying as the single largest party it should be invited to form the government. In other words, Congress is playing two tricks. On the one hand it is prompting PDP to accept its offer of support and on the other hand, it is subtly invoking constitutional provision of the right of the largest party in the legislature hoping that both will work together.

But PDP has its own reservations. It is the last party to repose trust in Congress, especially when it knows that on national level the party is on the ebb. Its corruption history is a big roadblock for the PDP to clinch its hand. This is notwithstanding the ever green principle of politics that there are no untouchables in politics.

However, apart from this, PDP cannot outright ignore the pragmatists among seniors in the rank and file. Muzaffar Husain Baig has said that BHP should not be an untouchable for PDP.

But PDP has serious reservations in joining hands with BJP. Though NC has the history of having been partner in central government with BJP, PDP has no such background. In case of PDP aligning with BJP, the former will have to face the question why it let BJP have a foothold in Kashmir when no group in the valley and Ladakh wanted it to have even a toehold?

PDP is born from the womb of militancy. It is a different thing that it has very successfully worn the mask of “self rule”. But as we find, the rumour that BJP and NC alliance has made good progress and the partners are on the way to form the government, there is bound to be reaction from PDP ranks. Soz of Congress said to a channel that sidelining PDP was fraught with serious dangers. Of course, it is and we have just heard that some over zealous activist of PDP has fired a few shots from his clandestine Kalashnikov somewhere in South Kashmir.

The constitutional position is that the Governor can call the largest single party to form the government and prove the numbers on the floor of the house. If it fails to do so, then naturally, the

Obviously so far the PDP has not been able to cobble 44 members to form the government. That is the reason why Mehbooba said that it may take her party a long time to make a decision. Even the rumours of re-poll are also making rounds.

Delay will naturally brighten the prospect of horse trading. There are seven independent candidates who hold a key to any final decision. Their stock increases with the delay in the formation of any government.

Apart from these nuances, this election has at least cleared the mist from some harsh and rather unpalatable realities of Kashmir situation. The BJP will certainly ponder over its Mission +44, how immature it was to give it unprecedented media hype. In other words Modi’s mission for development, change, re-thinking, good governance, and sab ka sath etc. could not make even the minimal impact on ordinary voter in Kashmir. Those who had made make-believe story have misled not only Modi but themselves also.

The second harsh reality for Kashmir leadership is that Jammu cannot be written off. It has voted for development, change and good governance no doubt. Therefore any government that is put in the driver’s seat at the end of the day will have to come out of the old mindset and acknowledge the power and place of Jammu in the political structure of the State.

Third reality is that despite the fact that it has lost some seats, NC retains its importance and its role in the politics of the state. And lastly, if there is a spectrum of hopelessness, it is for the Congress party exclusively. By any stretch of imagination, this could be the last and winding phase of Congress in the State. Two things have contributed to that situation, corruption and dynastic rule.

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