Governance is the key

If there is anything that has stood out as the marker of some development in the eight months of PDP-BJP government, it is the improvement in the condition of some major roads in parts of the state. One reason for this is the revision of the funding per kilometre from Rs 18 lakh to Rs 34 lakh.  Government has also sought to hold the contractors laying the roads accountable by seeking three year maintenance guarantee from them. This has naturally changed the complexion of the roads.  And people in parts of the state have taken due note of it.   If anything this tells us that the government’s good work does get registered. And it does generate a favourable public perception for the ruling party or the parties.

If PDP is now in power, it owes it to the good work done in its previous term in office. In 2002, when the party miraculously won 16 seats in the first Assembly election it fought and went on to form the coalition government with Congress, it ushered in a relative sense of security among people crushed by the years of an unremitting security stranglehold.  The government brought a new ruling intelligence to the town. It brought a degree of responsiveness in the administration, if not accountability, restored some damaged infrastructure and above all ensured the reasonable supply of electricity. The party also made the most of the then ongoing Indo-Pak peace process which offered a fleeting promise of culminating into a Kashmir settlement, and led to the re-opening of cross-LoC routes for travel and trade.

People didn’t forget this. In 2008 polls, PDP enhanced its tally from 16 to 21 – albeit the party failed to keep the power. And now in 2015 it is the largest single party in the state. But if anything is conspicuously missing, it is the effective and the visible governance. The development is the sole redeeming feature of an otherwise ideologically antithetical coalition with BJP. But roads apart,  the PDP-BJP coalition has failed to make a mark on all other indices of the development. Eight months into the government and the coalition has built little defences to protect the Valley from another flood. A two-day rain plunges Valley into the flood-like situation.

However, governance isn’t only wanting on the front of physical development, it lacks in psychological satisfaction too. Government has so far failed to create the promised sense of justice and fairness. It hasn’t distinguished itself in terms of its responsiveness. There is little indication that the administration has become amenable to the expectations of common man or that the bureaucracy has become less apathetic at the interface with people. With a few minor redeeming exceptions, the governance looks little different from what it was during NC-Congress coalition. And this is here that the PDP-BJP coalition needs to pay a serious  attention if it wants to make some redeeming difference. More so, for PDP which has everything at stake. While people may overlook some ideological trade-off, considering the party is in coalition with BJP, but they will hardly forgive an inadequate governance.


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