Ever since J&K has come under Governors rule, things seems to have fallen into place in the state. The past two months have witnessed a focus on the governance. Some long delayed and the politicized measures like flood relief and the vacation of the land illegally occupied by the Army are being undertaken quietly and with least fuss otherwise attendant on the actions of an elected government. What is more, the past two months have passed without a political controversy which was otherwise a weekly an almost a weekly occurrence over the ten months of the PDP-BJP Government. During this short term while the political and ideological confrontation between the coalition partners hurtled to the centrestage, almost hobbling the government, governance didnt make any headway, with rehabilitation of flood victims turning out to be a hope bitterly betrayed. The PDP and the BJP were not been able to get along on contentious issues, or at least stick with a trade-off in line with their Agenda of Alliance.
The biggest undoing of the coalition was that it created a deep sense of dead-end: A political status quo hung over the state which was zealously guarded by both the parties and purveyed as their respective achievement. PDP leaders asserted they had forced BJP to stall its plan to revoke Article 370 and step back on the contentious issues like the citizenship for West Pakistan Refugees and separate enclaves for Kashmiri Pandits. BJP flaunted the fact that it had reigned in a soft-separatist party with a self-rule agenda for the state.
The partners staked out their political territory, with BJP choosing to pander to its enlarged constituency in Jammu and PDP trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to play to the sentiment in Valley. With BJP watching, PDP failed to strike a blow or two for its political agenda, nor did it make any redeeming difference on the development front in the absence of the adequate funds from the centre.
In Jammu, BJP clung to its ideological posture, lest any dilution conflict with its hard nationalist image in the country. But this chariness came in the way of a nuanced political approach that is needed to tackle Kashmir, with its unique historical and political baggage and the troubled present.
BJP ensured that the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was not allowed any leeway to do his own natural politics, something that had distinguished him through 2002-03 term as head of a PDP-Congress coalition. Let alone Healing Touch or Goli Se Nahi Boli Se (dialogue not violence) approach, the saffron party yielded no quarter for his battle-of-ideas play of politics.
In popular perception thus, the state governments agenda was increasingly being set neither in Srinagar nor even in Jammu but by the centre and in the Television studios of Delhi, a sign of which was further squeezing of the space for the separatist groups to hold their political activities.
Controversies – political, legal and administrative followed in quick succession which hemmed in the functioning of the coalition government. Almost, every government move seemed to run into controversy. But the question arises, how come things have been so quiet during Governor rule. Why is there no protest by the Hindutva forces, why no effort to dilute the special cvonstituentional status of Kashmir, why no flag, beef or refugee issue? Does this mean these issues are deliberately manufactured to destabilize the state government and push through a dubious political agenda? It seems so. And if these disruptive forces could be held in check through the governors rule, why cant same be done during the rule of an elected government? An honest answer to these questions can help address a lot of the manufactured problems of our state.
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