A Tame, Passive Govt

When PDP-led coalition was first formed in 2002 there was a new ruling intelligence in town.  The party was the first to snatch power from National Conference in a free and fair election in the che-quered democratic history of the state. So, in many ways, the experience was cathartic, heightened further by the preceding rough-neck dispensation run by Dr Farooq Abdullah, rife  with corruption and human rights abuse. And to its credit, PDP did largely live up to the expectations. In the months of the new government taking over, a positive change was apparent. The first thing that the party did was to usher in a relative sense of security among people by reigning in the security agencies and ensuring a degree of accountability. This was a significant change in the light of the prevailing security stranglehold. The party also brought a redeeming change to the governance. It started a dramatic state-wide anti-encroachment drive, rebuilt some damaged infrastructure and importantly ensured a reasonable supply of electricity. PDP only gained from the good work and rose from strength to strength. In 2008 polls, the party increased its tally from 16 to 21 but lost power to an NC-led coalition. 

But in 2014, PDP emerged as the single largest party and thus in position to dictate the government formation. The party’s conten-tious choice of BJP was grudgingly accepted in Valley in the hope  that only such an arrangement could facilitate early rehabilitation of the flood-hit and the restoration of the damaged infrastructure. But now five months into the government, the coalition gives every appearance of having lost its track. It is not only about the Agenda of Alliance which seems to have fallen apart with BJP reneging on almost all its commitments, it is about the governance as a whole. 

For example, there is no knowing when the rehabilitation will begin – that too now eight months after the deluge sank Srinagar and large parts of South and North Kashmir leaving a massive humani-tarian fallout in its wake. The alleged Rs 70,000 crore package which was expected to be announced by the prime minister Naren-dra Modi on his recent visit to Jammu is yet to materialize and the hope that it will be released anytime soon is fading with each pass-ing day.  To make matters worse is the absence of the government machinery on the ground. Most politicians and bureaucrats seem to have vanished from the scene. 

Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed is a pale shadow of his 2002 self when he had generated a visible activity on the political and the develop-ment front. He looks tame, passive and caged. The least that the people want is an all-out effort to improve the infrastructure and even that is largely missing. Our roads are in the worst state of dis-repair. The state of our health and education is pits.  With PDP in power, people hopped up on the expectations from its previous term expected a welcome change in the state of affairs. But that seems hardly the case.  True, five months is a very short time to judge a new government. It certainly needs more time to establish its imprimatur on the state of affairs. But the period is sufficient enough for the government to create a sense of engagement with the people and bring responsiveness to the administration. Both are missing. Here is hoping that the coalition gets it right and delivers, at least on the basic governance.

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