PDP : A Toothless Alliance Partner

THE PRESENT PDP-BJP Govt in the state has completed 100 days in office. Three months is generally a short time to pass judgement on the functioning of any Govt, but having witnessed the kind of developments in the State, especially in the Kashmir Valley in these 100 days, it does merit some commentary.

The PDP alliance with BJP to form a Govt in the state was seen with skepticism by a large section of people in the Kashmir valley. But votaries of this coalition and PDP supporters tried to assuage these feelings by highlighting the maturity of Mufti Mohammed Syed in working out a pragmatic, durable and dignified coalition with the right wing nationalist BJP. So far this argument seems to have gone awfully wrong and BJP despite being the smaller partner in the coalition is calling the shots. The controversies around this coalition started right from the first days of the Govt formation. In one of its first political moves, the Govt released Masarat Alam from custody. The BJP made its opposition to his release known in no uncertain terms. TV news channels and newspapers went all out against this move by the Govt which was seen as an ‘’anti national’’ measure by them. The separatist leader was put behind bars again within a few weeks of his release, this time on the charges that some people in his rally displayed Pakistani flags.

It is not only on such thorny political issues that the coalition partners have been seen working in different directions, but even on lesser controversial issues that fissures can be clearly seen. Whether it about the proposed IIT, IIM or AIIMS in the state, BJP legislators and ministers have often made no bones about the fact they want these facilities to come up in Jammu. In case of AIIMS, which is proposed to be set up in the Kashmir valley, the BJP has already demanded one such institute be set up in the Jammu province. BJP has done all it can to benefit its electoral constituency within the Jammu province, but PDP has been seen more on the defensive, playing second fiddle to its alliance partner.

Even in the rehabilitation of the flood victims, the centre Govt run by PDPs alliance partner BJP has shot changed the State. Against an estimate of Rs 45000 crore as a rehabilitation package, the centre has granted a meager Rs 1500 crore. The people of the State were given an impression by the PDPD at the time of forming a coalition with BJP that it would help the state financially since BJP is the ruling party at the centre. But that looks a pure eye wash now. The return of power projects to the state was perhaps the only lone standing issue in the agenda of alliance between the two parties. The PDP had made a high pitch for this in their election campaign as a means of achieving financial autonomy for the state. But the BJP Govt in the centre has already rejected this proposal. The PDP, despite being the bigger alliance partner, has ceded too much ground too soon. 

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