Stupid! This Happens Only In Kashmir
By Prof. Hameeda Nayeem
15 January, 2015
For the past two weeks a number of articles appeared in Various papers expressing anguish over BJP-PDP alliance. But Still there remain some points that need to be put together to make an argument.
There is an oppressive burden of suspense, anxiety and anguish in Kashmir society about the formation of new govt in the state. Not that the coalition of local parties is going to shake their world for better but that the prospect of coalition with BJP is fraught with ground changing terrifying implications. In the scenario of a fractured mandate anywhere in the world where politics is based even on a semblance of principles, it is the ideologically least divergent groups that come together to form a govt. Petty ego squabbles between leaders of different parties vying with each other for power thaw and evaporate into thin air before the kind of challenge that has been thrown up by the fractured mandate in the recently held election.
Be that as it may, the hints that are dropped by the political pundits of the single largest party have put forth weird logic for aligning with BJP. One reason for this is to give representation to Jammu in the govt, otherwise they will remain unrepresented, that is why the coalition with BJP is inevitable; second, that the new govt will not get funds if PDP enters into an alliance with other parties that are not in power in the centre. As if funds are given from the private kitty of the ruling party in Delhi and states’ due share in funds is nothing but a charity given to the states only if they are in the power sharing relationship in the state govt with the ruling party at the centre. Both NC and congress have offered support to PDP and the number of seats of grand alliance comes to around fifty seven to sixty . Does it mean sixty members are less inclusively representative and less the product of a democratic process than the twenty-five seats won by BJP in Jammu? Is Jammu’s mandate to one party intrinsically superior in its sterling representative character to those who have been elected in Kashmir and parts of Jammu? Is the state not one entity but two distinct states as the impression is sought to be created ?
All the reasons that are given by these Pandits for making alliance with BJP do not stand the test of ‘democratic principles' as are touted and celebrated day in and day out by the claimants of democracy in Kashmir! The share of funds is preordained for each state in the centre and does not depend on the whims and caprices of the ruling party in Delhi. ( Besides, our taxes go directly into the central govt’s treasury as also the income from our resources like power generated with our waters, the central govt owes us at least 129000 million rupees on account of electricity NHPC has produced with our waters; with 2000 million rupees investment in 1975, its net profit till 2010 is 3,87,180 million rupees out of which our share is 129000 millions; one-third of electricity in the northern grid goes from our state in a total of 6000 MWS )
Only one thing can justify the alliance with BJP as ruling party at centre which no other party can do and that is a written commitment from the BJP govt in Delhi to end the political uncertainty and stalemate in the state by addressing the Kashmir question comprehensively for a permanent resolution in a time-bound framework; a commitment on halting its divisive and communal politics with immediate effect which includes among other things vitiation of fragile human and ecosystem in the state; a commitment on the demilitarization of the entire civilian space without which withdrawal of AFSPA signifies nothing.
BJP govt is ideally placed today with a thumping majority in the centre to take a historic decision - to put an end to the million miseries and colossal tragedies that have become our fate since the partition of India. These tragedies have broadly resulted from military oppression, political domination, wars and intermittent cross border skirmishes, economic exploitation and now growing cultural aggression, the fallout on both India and Pakistan with far reaching consequences for South Asia. In short there is an urgent need for a release from the frozen embrace of the hostilities of the past. By this I do not mean to say that PDP or any other electoral party has got the mandate to resolve the dispute.
The governance of the state and the resolution of political dispute are two separate spheres and have their different gravitational pulls but they do impinge upon each other as they remain in a colloidal suspension. That is to say governance becomes extremely difficult in the face of unresolved fundamental issues on the ground which cry for solution and, as we have seen in the past, can bring down any govt within the twinkling of an eye or considerably undermine its authority. That is why those issues should be as much a matter of grave concern for parties engaged in the sphere of governance as those engaged in the struggle for determining the political future because in the final analysis their constituency is the same whose larger political rights and civil liberties are conspicuous by their absence. And once brought to presence, governance would be lot more easier and a whole-hearted public support will replace the reluctant endorsement symbolised by the fragmented mandate. All other reasons given by these political pundits do not hold ground and smack of petty short term power interests, opportunism, and a fear of dismissive authoritarian attitude of the BJP govt in Delhi which actually emanates from the political and military domination of the state.
If funds are denied, the state govt has the golden chance to explore alternatives by turning it on their head! The best way forward in the absence of the above commitments would be to set aside the fears and assert the power of the mandate of at least 57 members who are offering support for a grand alliance. Now is the time for the assertion of combined mandate of regional parties and not to trade vital interests of the state for a berth in Delhi govt and ‘an easy walk in governance’. The alliance with BJP may make things much more difficult even in terms of governance and take everything else into the bargain and may prove to be the requiem of the regional party!
Prof. Hameeda Nayeem is a civil society activist Email: Hameedah.firstname.lastname@example.org
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