Lesson For PDP, NC

It took time to sink in but the end of the PDP-BJP coalition has triggered a kind of catharsis in the Valley. It is apparent from the output on social media. Ever since the break-up, the users have had a field day. The posts and memes have reflected a long pent-up frustration with the state government, especially with the People’s Democratic Party and its leader Mehbooba Mufti. The Valley has thus been celebrating the good riddance and in a sense happy with the BJP for helping oust Mehbooba.  This is a sad state of affairs for a party that until 2014 had built up a popular support base straddling mainstream-separatist divide in the state. More so, in case of Mehbooba who has lost her political standing as perhaps the only mass-based mainstream leader in Kashmir.  The alliance with the BJP and her complicity in the party’s militaristic overreach has left her political reputation in tatters.  A reputation she  had built brick by brick. To be fair to her, initially in her dealings with the BJP, she tried to hold onto her ideological ground. For example, she held out for three months before agreeing to renew the alliance with her ideologically anti-thetical partner after her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s demise.

But from the moment she resumed the alliance without BJP giving in to any of her demands for development concessions, the quick unravelling of Mehbooba began. It confirmed to Kashmiris as an article of faith that all that the mainstream leaders sought was power. And that they had little qualms about abandoning their ideological moorings for the same.  Mehbooba proved no different than her NC predecessor and in fact, in parts turned out to be less effective than him. For example, she went invisible for three days after the popular militant commander Burhan Wani's killing when many killings and blindings happened. Her spokesmen came up with cloying platitudes to justify the indiscriminate response to the protests.

Her government also failed the state on development front. For example, even the then urgent rehabilitation of the flood victims took as long as  15 months to fulfil. Not that the development would have made any large difference – albeit its importance can hardly be over-emphasised. In Valley, a good governance is synonymous with an assertive political articulation of what people feel. But this is where the PDP was found sorely wanting. So was earlier the opposition National Conference which failed to fill in the political vacuum created by the PDP’s abdication.

In a sense thus, the BJP’s dramatic pulling out from the coalition government should be a lesson to the mainstream political parties. That is, the cardinal principle in politics is this: never betray the political ideology for which people voted you to power.



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