The rise and the fall of PDP

Finally – and expectedly - North Pole-South Pole bond fell apart

Ab. Qayoom Khan
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jun 25 2018 12:22AM | Updated Date: Jun 25 2018 12:22AM
The rise and the fall of PDPFile Photo

“Promises were like laws; smart men knew when to break both.” C.J. Hill, Slayers

Once again New Delhi has resorted to their “use and throw” policy in Kashmir. While watching the News of dismissal on Television in her office, Mehbooba Mufti was shocked the same way as was Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on 9th Aug. 1953 when he was handcuffed as Prime Minister of J&K at Gulmarg by the then City S.P L.D. Thakur at the directions of Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru. Distraught with grief over her father’s death in Jan – 2016 Mehbooba had refused to take oath as Chief Minster for more than two months which was seen as her, “buying time to re-bargain with BJP for timely implementation of agenda of alliance”. After dilly – dallying for long but weekend by the possible defection of her party legislatures,    Mehbooba Mufti finally assumed the office on 4th April 2016. 

During nine & half months rule, Mufti Mohammad Syed was not at ease with Modi government and had felt isolated both in Delhi as well as in Srinagar. The suspicion and mistrust fuelled between BJP & PDP, when on the very first day, at the oath ceremony Mufti wanted to give credit to Pakistan & Hurriyat leaders allowing a peaceful election in 2014. On the release of Massarat Alam, Mufti was summoned to Delhi and was told in categorical terms to shelve the politics of soft separatism, invented apparently as an “election strategy” ever since the PDP came in existence in 1999.  The rise of Peoples' Democratic Party was because of subtle shift in mainstream politics when Mufti persuaded the masses that state elections had nothing to do with the issue of Kashmir’s freedom struggle. While disconnecting the election process from freedom movement, PDP tried to bridge the gap between pro-freedom parties and also presented its ‘Self Rule’ doctrine, proposing contours for resolving the Kashmir problem with shared sovereignty of Jammu & Kashmir, between Pakistan and India.  In Sept. 2014 soon after the massive flood disaster, PDP through its vigorous campaign reiterated to address the ‘Political Conflict’ with Delhi by pursuing ‘Self Rule’ as guiding frame work for resolution of Kashmir and also promised to use Article 370 of the Indian Constitution for restoring ‘Original Special Status’ of Jammu & Kashmir. Through its ‘Green Aspirational Manifesto’ Mufti promised, to facilitate a meaningful dialogue with Pakistan and Hurriyat leaders to resolve Kashmir conflict, also strengthen ties across Line of Control, denotifying disturbed areas to pay way towards withdrawal of Armed Force Special Power Act (AFSPA), seeking economical self reliance by way of renegotiate all natural resources sharing agreement with New Delhi particularly on water resources and hydro power projects. After signing an eleven point agenda of alliance, with his ideological opponents, included normalisation of ties with Pakistan, talks with Hurriyat, withdrawing AFSPA, freeing land under army, no fiddling with Article 370, return of power project, Indus water treaty compensation, free trade & travel between Kashmir & POK, statues-quo of west Pakistan refugee settlement, coal mine allotment, and return of jailed youths outside the state. But BJP all along had been openly making utterances against the agenda with categorical ‘No’ to any proposal on engaging the separatists, strengthen ties across line of control to expand trans border trade, toughening its stands on issue like revocation of Armed Force Special Power Act (AFSPA) and non commitment on upholding Article 370 – though all these issue are constituent agendas of alliance. Also the Modi Government had put PDP in a tight spot when it insisted for granting of citizenship rights to five lac Hindu migrants from Pakistan, creating separate home land for Kashmiri pandiths and also increasing the number assembly seats in Jammu province through delimitation commission and started issuing Permanent Residence Certificate’s from Schools. BJP also pitched Jammu against Kashmir not only for major allocation of financial resources but also recently in the matter of Rasana village rape and murder case of a minor girl Aasifa, when Mehbooba took a stand in booking the perpetrators and also ensured the dismissal of two BJP Ministers who had allegedly supported the gang rappers in a rally of Hindu Ekta Manch in Kathua. The conflict further deepened when she insisted for extending the Ramadhan cease fire.

Mufti Mohammed Syed had praised and defined the alliance as great opportunity to make north and south pole meet and had also come up with the solution of Kashmir tangle with a document of self rule. The non fulfilment of agenda of alliance and the conflict between BJP & PDP changed the ‘tone and tenor’ of PDP politics and proved the Mufti’s decision as a political blunder. The people of Kashmir felt betrayed and the Mufti’s lost the political ground. Ignoring the sensitive sentiments of the people of Kashmir, PDP’s action for alliance with BJP built by calculations rather than beliefs, was be to make a ‘political mistake’ rather than to bring about a change. Mistakes when championing belief, may carry political costs but they always add to the power of idea. But mistakes made in the defense of political calculation for power are not mere mistakes but great blunders that lead to big political consequences. PDP in the process has lost the reason for being, as it betrayed the mandate which became a mirror to the frustration felt by electorate. How could PDP fulfill the promises made in its ‘Green Aspirational Manifesto’ with ‘Saffron Ink’ and ‘Lotus Pen’ ?. 

In politics no two persons are the same, even if they are ‘father’ and the ‘daughter’. Mehbooba when won the first election from Bijbehara in 1996 changed the Mufti’s political perception as he would never win any elections in Kashmir before and with Mehbooba’s perseverance he started dreaming to become the Kashmir’s Chief Minister. But for his life time ‘political blunder’ i.e allying with BJP has brought an end to the political carrier of her daughter.

BJP probably did not want to face 2019 polls as PDP’s ally, as the alliance which was put together with much careful crafting, could not, in the end carry the weight of hugely contradictory ideological positions.       

 

Abdul Qayoom Khan  (IFS) Rtd. is Member  All India Muslim Majlis - e- Mushawarat. 

 

 

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