Packaged Ideology

The break-up of the much-hyped Rs 80,000 package announced by the prime minister Narendra Modi on his visit to the state on November 7 has come as a big letdown. The package has just Rs 2000 crores for relief and rehabilitation of flood-affected people – Rs 1200 crores for reconstruction of damaged houses and Rs 800 for traders hit by the deluge. Against the recommended Rs 9 lakh, a meagre Rs 3 lakh each would be given as compensation for the fully damaged Pucca house, Rs 1.50 lakh for fully damaged Kutcha house, Rs 1 lakh for severely damaged Pucca house and Rs 50000 for severely damaged Kutcha house. The previous state government had sought Rs 44000 crore for the flood rehabilitation alone. But against this paltry rehabilitation package, Kashmiri migrant families, families from Chhamb and PoK  and the proposed creation of India Reserve Battalions are getting Rs 5,263 crore.

Similarly, in the name of the development, Kashmir Valley gets a meagre Rs 6,500 crore whereas Rs 13,000 crore have been announced for Ladakh and Rs 11,000 crore for Jammu province.

What this reveals is the politics and the ideology of the one party articulated through an economic package. It is clear that BJP has sought to focus the resources toward the appeasement of its core constituency in Jammu. One can also see the deft allocation of the funds towards the implementation of its core ideological goals in the state. While the victims of the colossal flood get peanuts, BJP has ensured that the contentious refugees get a generous dole. Similarly, the money is a patent repackaging of the already announced government schemes.

If PDP expected Modi to compensate for the discriminatory and the deficient economic package by announcing a political initiative geared to address Kashmir, he didn’t oblige. PM refused to step out of his political straitjacket on the state. PDP and also a large swathe of public opinion in the state expected him to do a Vajpayee and reach out to Pakistan. They expected a gesture for Hurriyat. And many wanted him to give a clear-cut message of communal harmony to the country. More so, now that the Bihar election was over. A message that would have certainly found a national and international resonance after the intolerance and divisiveness of the recent months.  More so,  because it would have come from a political stage in the summer capital of India’s only Muslim majority state.  But Modi chose not to.

Though  PDP has tried to put a brave front  on the package, people are not convinced.  Even if we go by the finance minister Dr Haseeb Drabu’s development mantra, Kashmir Valley has been sorely neglected relative to other two regions. Now Kashmiri traders have threatened to launch an agitation if the central government does not redesign the package which as per them is aimed at “trifurcation of J&K along communal lines”. Kashmir Economic Alliance has termed the Rs 80,000 crore  package announced by Prime Minister  Narendra Modi on November 7 as a “deep rooted conspiracy” against J&K.

“The break-up of package clearly shows that the lion’s share in development has been handed to regions of Jammu and Ladakh, which have less number of Muslims,” KEA chairperson Yasin Khan told a press conference. This pursuit of ideological agenda by BJP through every means possible thus needs to be taken note of PDP. If only because the party’s constituency is deeply perturbed about it. PDP can only ignore this to its own peril.


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