Jammu and Kashmir currently under the President’s rule has been going through a rare political crisis after the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the sitting Chief Minister as the PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti continued her silence over forming a government with BJP.
Mehbooba has reportedly shown reluctance in assuming the mantle of the politically volatile state even four weeks after the death of her father. She was expected to assume office immediately after the four-day mourning period as per the routine procedures without giving away to much hype and discussions. But PDP showed no signs of forming a post-Sayeed government. For the PDP-BJP coalition that has been ruling the state since the last 10 months, there are no political obstacles other than Mehbooba, Mufti’s daughter and an MP merely replacing her father; it was only a matter of formalities. Therefore the BJP is desperate to keep the coalition alive. But things took a different turn in Kashmir. Mehbooba by refusing to talk about politics has hinted to the central government and the BJP leadership about her lack of interest in moving ahead with the present coalition. Her silence was a clear warning to the Sangh Parivar leadership. Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra had asked the PDP-BJP leadership to decide on government formation. But Mehbooba after visiting the Governor pointed out few of the basic issues of the state that were the root causes for the current predicament. She said that she wanted the Centre to adopt ‘concrete steps’ to address the issues including the state’s political uncertainty and unfulfilled promises and to work towards a lasting solution before she makes any move to form a government with the BJP.
With no party securing a majority in the assembly elections in March 2015, PDP and the BJP which were poles apart in ideologies had joined hands together to form a coalition. Just like what Mehbooba had told the reporters after visiting the Governor, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had a unique expertise and loads of experience in handling such a volatile political scenario. Mehbooba who had played a significant role in the growth and progress of PDP isn’t at all content with the present political atmosphere in the state. She has comprehended that the association with the ideologically-opposite BJP has not gone down well with the valley and the reality that it was difficult to move ahead with the coalition in a suitable way so as to benefit the party’s political future. The thin attendance at Mufti’s funeral in the valley signaling the decline of support from the people had also shocked the party. The erosion of support within a year of forming the coalition government is likely due to Mufti’s political trapezing. However the main reason that upset the PDP Chief and her party was the betrayal by the BJP by failing to honour its political and economic commitments in the state when PDP had given the Hindutwa forces an opportunity to share the governance in the state.
In the present circumstances, despite the realization that there was no way out other than forming a government with the BJP ,Mehbooba wants to tackle the issue of loss of public support due to the alliance. To establish the many benefits brought to the state through the friendly ties with the Modi government, new governmental, political and economic moves might soon happen. The BJP leadership is also mulling over steps to be taken in order to fool the people. Senior officials from Delhi paying a visit to the valley and ensuring the implementation of certain economic packages were part of that move. But Mehbooba still hasn’t expressed her willingness to form a government. Whether it is her slyness or a dilemma in which she has landed is yet to be seen. The Centre should understand that a volatile state like Kashmir being made to pass through such a political crisis wouldn’t benefit the nation.