Altaf Bukhari Echoes Omar On Coalitions Failure, PDP Disagrees 

SRINAGAR — Former finance minister and PDP senior leader Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Tuesday seconded the opinion of National Conference vice president and Former Chief minister Omar Abdullah who said that coalition experiments have failed in the state. The PDP however distanced from the Bukhari’s statement, calling it his “personal opinion and not the party’s position on the subject.”

“I personally believe that Kashmir has suffered a lot because of coalition politics that started since 2002.  The results of coming assembly elections shall have a huge bearing on the stability and all round development of the State,” Bukhari observed, adding that he leaves it to the conscience of people to choose and vote for any political party of their choice that can safeguard State’s socio-political interests and deliver the best.

The former finance minister said that coalition politics results in chaotic atmosphere and more often lead to unstable governments that hugely affects the policy making and decisions of government and bring a limitation to them.

 “It is my personal experience that coalition government is actually less democratic as the balance of power is inevitably held by the small parties who can barter their support for concessions from the main groups within the coalition. This means that a party with little popular support is able to impose its policies upon the majority by a process of political blackmail,” he remarked.

Referring to the bitter experiments of 2002, 2008 and 2015 coalition government formations in Jammu and Kashmir, Bukhari observed that people of the State suffered immensely due to coalition compulsions. “Be it PDP-Congress, NC-Congress or PDP-BJP coalition governments, all these equations undermined accountability as the interests and expectations of the people and particularly the voters of either of the two coalition partners were not addressed,” Bukhari opined.

Bukhari said the recent political developments in the State is a manifestation of demerits of a coalition government.  “Sometimes an ideological compass is necessary for governments to navigate in difficult political and economic waters, and coalitions lack such a unifying philosophy. In addition planning for the long-term often requires decisions to be made that are unpopular in the short-term. Coalitions often fail such tests because temporary unpopularity may encourage one of the parties involved to defect, in search of a populist advantage,” the former finance minister observed in a statement issued here.

He said such a political equation greatly restricts the ability of governments to deal with major reforms and means that politicians seldom stay in any political party for long enough to get to grips with the expectations of his electorate. “At the same time, the squabbling between political parties that form a coalition government erodes the confidence of the public in their political system and in their elected representatives,” Bukhari observed further.

He appealed people of the State to make their mind for supporting any political party that it deems will usher in a change and address the socio-political and political aspirations of the people. “Jammu and Kashmir is passing through a tumultuous political situation. At this point of time, I appeal the people of all regions and sub regions of the state to get unified and give decisive mandate to any political party that can come up to their expectations and deliver on the ground,” Bukhari said.

Meanwhile, PDP Vice President Abdul Rahman Veeri said that what Bukhari has stated about the coalition politics could be his personal opinion and not of the party. “PDP will go into elections with full force and seek mandate from the people. Altaf sahib’s statement on coalition regimes in the state is in no way the party line,” Veeri said. 

He said that whichever party in the state got a “brute” majority during elections in Jammu and Kashmir did the sell-out of the state resources and especially from 1996 to 2002 things like POTA, Task Force, sell out of the power houses, Ikhwan wee witnessed in the state. 

“The reign of terror was unleashed upon the people by the National Conference only because there was no opposition to it. The governments are not about numbers or about coalition or absolute majority, it is about who actually runs the government and the best example is of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who is the year 2002 with just 16 members changed the discourse of Kashmir and carried along with him the leadership of both the countries,” Veeri said, adding: “numbers have always stung Kashmir.”

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