PDP and BJP should take some time off and truthfully spell out their ‘Vision J&K’

03 Feb 2016 10:09:59

Daya Sagar (Eminent journallist and social worker)

No signs of government formation are visible even after nearly 4 weeks of the death of the leader of the coalition partners. Had the delay been due to some internal problems within the senior partner PDP as regards nominating a successor of Mufti Mohd Sayeed it was understandable but the hurdles surely  lie some where else. After meeting Governor N. N . Vohra  on February  2  in Jammu PDP President  has confirmed that her party needs  assurances from Central government ( BJP ) worth  initiating Jammu Kashmir specific confidence building measures (CBMs) before  a government is formed  by PDP along side BJP in the state. So the question is  what more ‘confidence building measures’ are needed by PDP?  


While joining hands on 1st March PDP and BJP had assured their people that the two allies  would pool  all  political and legislative resources to make the  complex challenges before them an opportunity worth taking J&K to an era of peace & development. How far the two have been able to mend the fractured polity of J&K (that was described by the PDP patriarch Mufti Mohd Sayeed to be seen in ‘regions’ standing poles apart ) needs to be seen in the behavior of PDP & BJP that they have shown after ( 7th January)  the demise of the then J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohd Sayeed. The claimed trueness in  agenda for alliance could not stay intact evenfor a day and  instead a  need had emerged for  imposing  Governor rule under Section-92 of J&K Constitution. As regards formation of government after 7th January BJP has beenin a way showing eagerness to form government along with PDP but Mehbooba Mufti has been all along maintaining silence and it has been only on 1 February that Mehbooba has been quoted as having said to his legislators that she has sought some assurances (from BJP ‘high command) about time bound commitments for implementation of the issues laid down in the PDP- BJP agenda of alliance.  Former Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh met People Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti at Jammu guest house on 2nd February before she went to see the Governor N.N Vohra and while talking to reporters he still maintained that  BJPwas  confident to form the government again in the state.

J&K PDP President Mehbooba Mufti  had on 16 June 2014 demonstrated a great deal of political and ideological maturity ( from the point of view of PDP)  while speaking in Lok Sabha  on the Vision of the BJP lead Government as was presented by the President of India. But so unfortunately submissions and points made by Mehbooba Mufti were  not taken in the required seriousness  by the government of India and the BJP leadership.Had it been taken truthfully the 1st March 2015 Agenda of Alliance of PDP-BJP would not have been drafted in its present form. From  day-one itself accusations have been made on  BJP for having come under the pressures of PDP just for riding the seat of power. And PDP too has come under severe internal pressures for having not been able to execute the ‘vision’ the party (PDP) had been presenting to her voter in  Kashmir Valley and in addition  of  its going for alliance with an  ‘unholy’ partner.

In brief the  message that emerges from the March 2014 PDP- BJP Agenda of Alliance  is that  both BJP and PDP have been in agreement that  (i) as per the present situation in J&K  the  socio-political aspirations and grievances of the people have wide ranging differences and since    the regions of J&K have lived in perpetual strife and conflict  hence simple  economic development on its own can not bring peace in state ,(ii) considering the political and legislative realities on date BJP and PDP have appreciably different perceptions on the constitutional status of J&K  and (iii) for creating an environment of peace, certainty and stability  the present position will have to be maintained on all the constitutional provisions pertaining to J&K including the special status in the Constitution of India. It will not be out of place  to mention here that while in agenda of alliance BJP committed on 1st March 2015   for maintaining constitutional provisions pertaining to J&K including the Special Status in the Constitution of India , the BJP Government in a written reply to starred question NO. 138 ( “Whether it is a fact that through Article 370, the Constitution gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir;?) inRajay Sabha said on 11 March 2015 that “ In the Constitution of India, there is no mention of ‘Special Status to Jammu and Kashmir’”.  What ‘special status’ in constitution of India has been mentioned in the Agenda for alliance could be a question  for the architects of the AOA.?.Hence keeping in view the confusions and cobweb of perceptions the two ‘allies’ are trapped in, it is now time for both of them to lay more priorities on introspection & reworking on  their  ideologies and needs of the  people of J&K than forming the government..

It has been only on February 1 and February 2 that  Mehbooba Mufti has spoken to media in specific terms as regards there being any options under consideration of her party as regards formation of Government in J&K. Surely there does not seem any marked  internal problems within  PDP as regards nominating a successor of Mufti Mohd Sayeed but the hurdles surely  lie some where else. After meeting Governor N.N. Vohra  on February  2  in Jammu has confirmed that her party  has sought some commitments from BJP  worth  initiating Jammu Kashmir specific confidence building measures (CBMs) before  a government is formed  by PDP along side BJP in the State. So, there is some thing more beyond the earlier drafted agenda for alliance. Though BJP is giving impressions that it holds  to the earlier agenda for  alliance, the contents of the said agenda of alliance will not be politically that yielding for BJP. In case BJP makes some more yields to PDP it will be suicidal for BJP  as regards its region specific vote bank as well as ‘nation’ specific sloganeering is concerned..  

While joining hands on 1st March PDP and BJP had assured their people that the two allies  would pool  all  political and legislative resources to make the  complex challenges before them an opportunity worth taking J&K to an era of peace & development. How far the two have been able to mend the fractured polity of J&K (that was described by the PDP patriarch Mufti Mohd Sayeed to be seen in ‘regions’ standing poles apart ) needs to be seen in the behavior of PDP & BJP that they have shown after ( 7th January)  the demise of the then J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohd Sayeed. The claimed trueness in  agenda for alliance could not stay intact even for a day and  instead a  need had emerged  for  imposing  Governor rule under Section-92 of J&K Constitution. As regards formation of government after 7th January BJP has been in a way showing eagerness

Whatever opinions  have been expressed in media on behalf of PDP do not reveal any official view point except that the PDP leadership is committed to the ‘vision’ of its  late leader Mufti Mohd Sayeed. Yes, to some extent ,it was Nayeem  Akhtar, the spokesperson of PDP, who did say to NDTV on 14 January 2016 that for them the “agenda of alliance” is a sacred document and they cannot afford to take its non-execution casually. Mr. Nayeem Akhtar had very plainly said that even the  reference items in Agenda of Alliance like that including  (i) transfer of power projects (ii)   smart city for Srinagar (iii) return of lands occupied by security forces (iv)  removal of AFSPA from some areas and like  have remained unaddressed/unexecuted .Other thing that Nayeem Akhtar said  did raise apprehensions about Mehbooba Mufti being the undisputed heir apparent of Mufti Mohd Sayeed  when he said “ Mufti Sahib  had a stature  that could absorb ‘it’ ( the situations in J&K), dilemma in PDP is that in the absence  of such a towering leader  can we actually just go and sit in a ministerial chair and continue with the same thing?. PDP has a vision about Jammu & Kashmir”. The position on ground has not changed much since then.

The impressions that emerged after Mehbooba Mufti deliberated on 1st February for over 4 Hours in Srinagar in the company of senior leaders of PDP & Legislators too appear pointing towards  the political turmoil that PDP may be pushed into in the coming times under the shadows of ‘silence’ on the draft ‘aspirations’  laid in its ‘Self Rule Framework 2008’ that had surely so far proved  worth  pushing   National Conference to walls in Kashmir valley. But now it is also being opined by some that it appears  a remote distant mode for PDP to carry on ground the ‘self rule vision’ much beyond National Conference Greater Autonomy while simultaneously  treading the ‘mainstream’ path alongside allies like BJP and Congress. The PDP legislators have to contest future elections in Kashmir Valley and hence  this day Mehbooba Mufti may be finding it difficult to redraft some paras of PDP’s ‘self rule framework’ worth carrying on amicably with BJP and if it does that  it will not be possible for PDP to   remain a lead challenger to  National Conference.. 

Not only that , for BJP too it is time to rework on  ‘her’ vision about J&K and Nayeem Akhtar had also advised even BJP on 14th January for  doing the stock taking of the progress made from 1st March 2015 till 7th January 2016. Rather there is more need for BJP to reread the contents of Agenda of Alliance  and see how  far it can support the ‘vision of PDP’ on J&K as otherwise no ‘ such’ alliance would be worth bearing the fruits of peace and development for the people of J&K.

Agenda of the Alliance between the J&K People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party  (BJP) has been described by the two allies as  the guiding framework for governance. The two parties were of the common opinion that in reality it was not the mandate of political parties that was  fractured ;it is the polity of J&K that is fractured and hence it was opined that the  reality on the ground though complex / complicated needed to be faced in the interest of the people of J&K. Let PDP demonstrate that it religiously owns the descriptions regarding the needs and aspirations of the people of J&K.( Daya Sagar is a Sr Journalist and social activist  [email protected])

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