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PDP & BJP – Kashmir’s upcoming unusual union

“Coalition” seems to be the buzz word in contemporary politics. Both the term and what it denotes seem to be all pervasive, proliferating and permeating almost insidiously, every aspect of political life and governance. And coalition has come to stay.

Prevalent everywhere, whether it be relevant in today’s era either for running the government or for power show or to check the unbridled power of the other. Now it connotes a bigger power to rule or one power to crush another power in today’s date. Even major powers entered a coalition to wipe out the new violent brigade ISIS massacring human beings at random, day in and day out and the coalition of twenty eight States called NATO with its full scale adventures right from Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya, are another manifestation or another example of a coalition.

Not just this but even Israel’s Netanyahu hatched a backdoor deal with the opposition Kadima party to come to power and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel to the utter astonishment of all, celebrated a coalition deal with the rival Social Democrats! Back home, Bihar’s grand alliance was the recent shock where Nitish Kumar joined hands with arch rivals Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh to keep the BJP at bay. The latest speculation for the sensitive State of Jammu and Kashmir is the coalition of the BJP and PDP, ideologically too different to form the next government. Is the expected deal likely to develop and benefit Kashmir or will it simply unify the arch rivals, still remains a bigger question.

However, earlier PDP President Mehbooba Mufti’s all praise for former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his policies in Kashmir in 2003, proved an indication of the possible alliance. Also her criticism of the UPA government for rolling back some of those policies which could have helped the state, proved it further and diminished the chances of a PDP-Congress coalition. Mehbooba’s saying that her party was looking to take forward the policies set forth by Vajpayee, sparked speculation of a BJP-PDP coalition in Jammu-Kashmir. Now a month long hectic parleys and secret negotiations are underway between political parties in the state that may finally lead to the government formation of a PDP-BJP regime. BJP amply needs to be in the government for the party has a significant mandate of Jammu and the architect of BJP’s Mission Kashmir, Mr. Ram Madhav, maintained that the BJP has emerged stronger after the Jammu and Kashmir election verdict, with the largest vote-share.

This strength in vote share somehow has encouraged the BJP to work for a possible alliance to gain further ground in the valley where they failed this time as well. He is right when he maintains that the allegation of polarization is an insult to the mandate but polarization was obviously there in the time of elections. The fact remains that Hindu dominated Jammu versus Muslim dominated Kashmir itself reflected a polarized vote share. It all proved that the BJP will not sit on opposition benches at all and Kashmir’s collective politics, I mean PDP, NC or PDP, NC, Congress and others does not make sense.BJP is a strong contender as the party has a strong mandate which cannot be ignored by any rational being and PDP has been given the mandate by masses to wipe out the prevailing injustice and work for devastated Kashmir. Such an opportunity needs to be utilized and work on a common minimum programme can be a possible factor of union between the two, provided both the parties shun ego-clashes and unite primarily for the sake of the people.

It is fairly true that there are a plethora of issues besetting the state of J&K except emotional and sensitive issues like AFSPA, KP’s, refugees, 370, etc. Though the Modi wave displayed indications of winding up coalition politics but the very culture of coalition still continues to be the future of India, and coalition politics still has a strong relevance in many states including Jammu and Kashmir. How effectively PDP-BJP coalition works and what actually realizes as their common minimum programme remains to be seen and what its long-term ramifications are, only time will tell! Also can Mufti sahib afford to join NDA or prefer to remain in a state coalition only, remains a big curiosity, Now when the Delhi elections are over, whatever analysts may say I believe Kashmir’s unusual Political union is much needed as the crisis in the state is mounting.

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Adfar Shah

Adfar Shah is a Scholar of Sociology at India’s Central University Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He can be reached at adfer.syed@gmail.com

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