Coalition with BJP would not be a cakewalk for Mehbooba

The BJP J&K unit seems to be in greater grief than PDP. They are desperate to be part of the coalition once again. It was a dream come true for the BJP when PDP agreed on terms and conditions to form a coalition government with them nine months ago with Mufti Sahab at the helm of affairs. The question whether Mufti Sahab was confortable with saffron brigade or not is still unanswered.

After aligning with the BJP, Mufti Sahab never felt comfortable and this alliance was itself circumstantial in nature instead of a planned one. The seat share backed by a BJP government at the Centre compelled Mufti Sahab to take such a decision. Although it was the BJP at the centre, but it wasn’t led by AB Vajpayee. Communal goons and dubious characters are free to do whatever they like.

Parliamentarians proudly saying about their RSS connection,  karaykartas are desperate to construct Ram Mandir, Goons are openly killing and lynching innocent people of minorities and a continuous threat to those who are either criticizing or speaking against the BJP government.

In J&k itself, the killing of a Kashmiri driver and beating of Er Rasheed followed by hoisting of Indian flag at the of Srinagar secretariat was done to provoke the other community.

These incidents would definitely have some impact on Mufti Sahab’s mind as he was extremely sensitive as far as public at large was concerned. It was Mufti Sahab who realised a peaceful Jammu and Kashmir in just three years time. Mufti Sahab turned a terrorised state into a peaceful one with his pro-human policies. He convinced Prime Minister Vajpayee to start a dialogue with Pakistan and Hurriyat, that too, after Kargil.

But the second innings of Mufti Sahab was not as easy as it was thought to be initially. The BJP was considered untouchable in state politics and they were absolutely inexperienced as far as good governance was concerned. They also turned arrogant. On many occasions through the media we came to know about conflicts between the two partners in government.  

After the demise of Mufti Sahab, Mehbooba is sure to take over, but the question  is whether she will go for the same coalition or will look at other options. How she will manage the party as some powerful voices are against coalition with the BJP is another question.

Qarra has been openly advocating for parting of ways with the BJP and is terming the saffron party  communal brigade. The duo of Muzaffar Baig and Tariq Hameed Qarra, both of whom had served as finance minister previously, were absent from the rally of the prime minister in Srinagar. 

At this point of time, when PDP needs sincere efforts to avoid internal rebellion chief minstership will not be easy for Mehbooba.

PDP had  always advocated dialogue between India and Pakistan and at present the two countries are comparatively at better terms with each other despite frequent hostilities. This will favour PDP as after Modi’s sudden arrival in Islamabad has somehow changed the diplomatic climate. However, Mehbooba should keep in mind that Congress is also preparing a comeback after losing badly. Coalition with Congress will never be a bad option, but there will always be an uncertainty over the longevity of the government because the number of MLAs will only be 44 after the support of independents. Even if one of the independents parts way, the government will be destabilised.

Mehbooba also has an option of making a grand alliance, but this way she will need help of NC and Congress.

During the past nine months of BJP-PDP coalition, it was clear that BJP was almost successful in applying its agenda and realising its dreams in Jammu as PDP was losing its ground in the valley. No political activist from the valley would have ever thought that Mufti Sahab will make a coalition with BJP as PDP had fought the election by chanting “Save Kashmir from BJP.”

Mehbooba has to be cautious in choosing her new political partners. Niether party nor chief ministership can be sacrificed at the moment and both goals have to be carefully balanced.  

Khalil A Banday 

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 February 2016 on page no. 2

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