Lingering PDP-BJP deadlock

National Conference leader and the former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has once again blamed  PDP for the continuing deadlock in government formation. Addressing workers at his Beerwah constituency, Omar said the PDP was terrified of fresh elections in J&K “due to its political U-turns and a 10-month tenure of failures and abject misgovernance.” He said there was no case for the party to delay government formation after declaring that its Agenda of Alliance with BJP was “sacred”. This is not the first time Omar has taken this line against the prevailing political deadlock in the state. In fact soon after Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s death January 7, Omar in a tweet sought immediate formation of the government. “For God’s sake, form the new government in the state or else seek fresh elections,” Omar posted in the micro-blogging site.

It is obvious that NC leader’s effort is geared to give a negative spin to the lingering stalemate. Mehbooba’s continuing refusal to take oath as the J&K Chief Minister until BJP assures her of a credible progress in the implementation of the Agenda of Alliance has the potential of undoing the political damage PDP may have suffered over the past ten months. It is also likely to reinforce the image of Mehbooba as a tough leader who is willing to stand up to centre, something that has always played well for Kashmiri leaders in Valley. There is also a possibility that if Mehbooba is able to achieve something tangible from New Delhi in response to her holding out, it will substantially raise her political profile. And it is this potential pro-PDP fallout of the ongoing developments that Omar seems to be trying hard to negate.

True, what Mehbooba is doing right now goes against the conventional mainstream political wisdom in Kashmir. Mainstream politicians are seen as inherently compromised, power-hungry and unlikely to stick their neck out for the well-being of their people. Even though we are yet to fully grasp the existing state of affairs, Mehbooba’s stance challenges this political stereotype. But then we are yet to see the end of this brinkmanship. A part of what is going on leaves many people mystified. Though PDP has let it be known that it is not happy with the performance of the coalition over the past ten months, the party has yet to clearly spell out what is it that has put it off. Or what is it that it specifically wants from the centre. Or even the basic minimum that would satisfy it enough to resume the coalition. May be the party has its reasons to do so. And may be it doesn’t want anything specifically but only seeks a firm assurance from no less than the Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the terms of the alliance will be respected, adhered to and implemented. Some of the signals that have emanated from the party do point in this direction. But one thing is clear. Mehbooba can hardly afford to tamely surrender after holding out for so long. So while Omar can’t afford to wait for the government formation, people in the state can. That is, if the current stalemate is about a right cause. And which is to seek legitimate political and economic concessions from New Delhi for the people of the state.

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