Snub to the CM

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Centre has denied receiving any proposal from the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti seeking dialogue with Pakistan for bringing peace to the state. However, as for talks with Pakistan are concerned, the union minister of state for home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir told parliament that the government desires “normal neighbourly” relations with Pakistan and is committed “to addressing all outstanding issues bilaterally and peacefully in accordance with the Simla Agreement and the Lahore declaration”. However, the minister reiterated that any meaningful dialogue with Pakistan can be held only in an atmosphere free of terror, hostility and violence and that onus was on Pakistan to create such a conducive atmosphere.

In denying that Mehbooba had not sought talks with Pakistan, the minister is wrong. For the CM has always made it a point to call for such a dialogue. However, Ahir, perhaps, may have been referring to the absence of a formal proposal from the CM urging an engagement with the neighbouring country. And which certainly wouldn’t be there as Mehbooba is not expected to have any say or influence over India’s foreign policy. She can only issue public statements or suggest such a course in private conversations with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And which she has done time and again – albeit to no effect.

So, in Ahir’s statement, there is an implicit snub to the CM. New Delhi, in a way, has not only not been responsive to her repeated calls for dialogue – even the one with Hurriyat – it is now even denying that Mehbooba is pitching for an engagement with Pakistan. And this denial is telling in many ways: it once again shows how alliance between the PDP and the PDP has turned out quite opposite to what it was expected to be if one went by the much-hyped Agenda of Alliance. Once the coalition was in place with Mufti Sayeed as the Chief Minister, it didn’t take long for the possibilities to shrink and the optimism to unravel. First hope to be betrayed was expectation of an early flood package. It took the centre 14 months to release it. And as for the other commitments, centre didn’t even pretend to honour them. Almost four years later, no commitment of any consequence has been implemented. This has had consequences, not only for the politics of the state but the governance too.  The PDP has been the worst affected. Its politics has been evacuated of any ideological, political or for that matter even a development role in Valley’s public life. There are two more years of the coalition left. To all appearances, the government seems set to last. Though the time is fast running out, there is still hope and the opportunity for the coalition to salvage its reputation. Here’s hoping it does.

 

 

 

  

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