The political deadlock in Jammu and Kashmir following the poll results more than a month back, have finally come to an end with the PDP and the BJP agreeing to form a coalition government.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s PDP and the BJP have decided to join hands to form a government, the move coming amidst the growing anxiety over who forms a government in the region. In the elections results announced in December 2014, no party had managed to reach the halfway mark in the 81-member state Assembly and was unable to form a government. PDP was leading with 28 out of 46 seats in Kashmir and BJP managed to grab 25 out of the 37 seats in Jammu. The National Conference and Congress followed. Even though there were talks between PDP and the BJP to form a government, it was never finalized and the state has been under the Governor’s rule since then.
Mufti had received offers to form a coalition government both from Omar Abdullah’s National Conference as well as Ghulam Nabi Azad’s Congress. But PDP went ahead insisting on a coalition only with the BJP. That personal motive of Mufti tops the list of priorities is obvious along with an increased flow of funds from the Centre. He pointed out that the poll results indicated people’s disappointment with the National Conference thereby justifying that joining hands with NC would be against the interests and welfare of the people. It is seen as an opportunity for the former Union Minister for Home Affairs, who firmly believes that a PDP-BJP union is a historic opportunity for Jammu and Kashmir and would also reflect India’s diversity. Even though PDP can never get along with BJP both in Ideology as well as in vision, Mufti has decided to take a move ahead.
Kashmir has always been the favourite bone of contention between India and Pakistan and the main targets of Sangh Parivar’s saffronising agendas ever since the formation of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, which later evolved into BJP, the political arm of RSS. It was founded by Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, the father of Hindu nationalism in India. He starved himself to death in Kashmir jail after he was arrested. For the RSS, besides politics, it therefore, also has sentimental and sectarian sides. The attitude of the people of Jammu and the BJP towards the Kashmiris haven’t changed a bit. The PDP leaders wanted to remove the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which grants special rights to the Indian armed forces. But BJP believes that the Act is required to maintain law and order in the state and states that the decision to ban AFSPA is the hand’s of the government as well as the military head. The ruling party also wants to remove Article 370 of the Constitution which guarantees special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The Modi government has insisted on focusing on good governance and welfare of people instead of debating on topics like AFSPA and Article 370.
The uncertainty on the matter is apparently the cause of the delay in forming a government in the state. The BJP is more than willing to form a government but questions like whether they would be willing to accept Mufti’s demands, is yet to be seen. Both the parties crave for power and may form a coalition government. But the political turmoil in Kashmir is likely to persist and with the innocent civilians continuing to bear the brunt of the infightings and discords between the parties.