When king makers become beggars

By K.N. Pandita

Last week’s political events in Jammu have once again confirmed that BJP functions from a position of weakness and pusillanimity though circumstances do not warrant the type of acquiescence they are demonstrating.

The crux of the issue is discrimination against Jammu and Ladakh, an endemic malaise that has firmly gripped the valley majority ruling structure of the State. All through seven decades of independence and the popular rule, the see-saw skirmishes between stakeholders in Jammu and the valley rulers on the issue of discrimination could not be resolved amicably through principled statesmanship. Jammuites continue to express disgruntlement and the valley based power structure continues to belie them. Interestingly, the Centre remained nothing more than motionless spectator in the patent fashion of desi colonialism.

2008 unrest in Jammu including its fallout somewhere else should have been an eye opener for all aggrieved stakeholders. Unfortunately, the ailment has not been cured and only allowed to hibernate, no matter whosoever ruled the roost. In simpler language, it means passing on the buck and like ostrich thrusting the eyes into the gathering storm.

However, the narrative should have definitely shown signs of a healthy and rational change with the formation of coalition government. This was for the first time that BJP made its presence felt in the political climate of the State and the valley-based political party had the compulsion of seeking its hand in forming the government.

State BJP has a long history of sitting on opposition benches. It has no experience of ruling and administering. It has no vision of its strength in the legislature and in the polity of the state. This insensitivity arises when national priorities are subjected to myopia of the party line.

Nationalism has had to be the rallying point of Jammu region’s political aspirations. Weakening and defacing this rallying point has been in the focus of valley-cantered politics of majoritarianism.

National mainstream parties driven by a spectre of short-sighted political chemistry in Kashmir depended only on Kashmir proxy not understanding that no sensible person puts all eggs in one basket. Statesmanship is also the science of options. They underestimated the usefulness of nationalist elements. This was not because Indian leadership did not understand the utility of nationalist segment but because they were never prepared to face the ground realities and basked in the sun of their phantasm. They played the politics of proxy and remained content with proxies.

All the 11 BJP ministers, MLAs, party echelons plus their RSS mentors met and discussed issues of blatant discrimination against Jammu and decided to send a delegation to the chief minister to open Jammu Pandora box before her. Nothing could be more naïve. Did not the chief minister of the state know the grouses of discrimination which the BJP team opened before her? Did she not know that she had set free nearly 4000 stone throwers in Kashmir and not a single person from Jammu against whom 2008 related FIRs have been filed?

The question is this: Why did the BJP allow the government to take or not take all those decisions during the course of its three years in office against which the BJP team has now called on her and made petitions like a humble suppliant seeking her intervention to rectify the wrong in which she and her party colleagues and the entire administration is the culprit. Beggars are no choosers, and sadly BJP has sunk to those depths. A self-respecting party in a commanding situation should have drafted a party memorandum stating all discriminatory decisions of the coalition government and demanded immediate rectification instead of footing the distance to the office of the chief minister and requesting her to donate to their begging bowl. Jammu voters have voted BJP to wield power and rule but not to beg and become anybody’s beneficiaries. Those who demonstrated in Sundarbani or those who gheraoed the BJP Minister of Culture have actually conveyed this very message to them provided they can read between the lines.

Again, the question is will this affectation bring about any change in the attitude of the powers that be? I have doubts. The source of all this bow-wow is in New Delhi. When democracy is reduced to beggary and the dignity of the nation is compromised, this spells disaster for the nation. Sudden spurt in militancy in Kashmir in recent months or to be precise ever since NDA government came to power is the repercussion of perceived aggressive mood of the government in dealing with insurgency. While Congress charges that ever since Modi came to power insurgency has increased, PDP leadership reinforces the charge that India has failed to “protect our (Kashmiris) lives”, and hence she must talk to Pakistan and beg for peace in Kashmir while Kashmiris will continue to obtain arms and ammunition from Pakistan. The two are on the same page. The day is not far away when Kashmiris would want India to talk to China because Kashmiri youth are told that the dependable guarantee for their faith and belief can be provided only by China. If China can talk to Baloch separatists why not us, they ask.

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