Soon after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew from its alliance with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Ghulam Nabi Azad, once the CM of that State, suffered a bout of oral diarrhea. He was at his worst in criticising the BJP for taking Jammu and Kashmir to the bottom of peace, harmony, economic development etc. But he hardly touched a feather of criticism on Mehbooba Mufti who, as the Chief Minister (CM) of the State led the coalition government since its formation in March 1, 2015.
Who, exactly, is this 69-year-old Ghulam Nabi Azad? A devoted Member of the Indian National Congress, he was a Cabinet Minister in the Manmohan Singh government, he became the Chief Minister of the State on 2nd November 2005. His own fragility as a Chief Minister is evident from the following incident narrated on Wikipedia.
In June 2008, Azad’s government announced plans to transfer land to the board of a Hindu shrine. Many Muslims were angered by this decision and protested, leading the government to cancel the transfer; however, this reversal provoked Hindu protests. Seven people were reported killed in violence that accompanied these protests. The People’s Democratic Party, a coalition partner of the Indian National Congress in Jammu and Kashmir, withdrew its support for Azad’s government, and rather than attempt to sustain his government by requesting a vote of confidence, Azad resigned on 7 July 2008, and later left office on 11 July 2008.
What becomes clear from the above is that PDP has long been against the Hindu community’s interest despite what it has always been touting about Zamooriyat, Kasmiriyat, and Insaniyat. Secondly, the above incident shows that Ghulam Nabi Azad was just not a tough Chief Minister. And now, after withdrawal of BJP from the coalition with PDP, he seems unable to understand why the BJP claimed that it did what it did because they had come to the conclusion that “continuance of its coalition with the PDP was untenable.”
The incident cited above also puts a big, big question on the PDP. By severely opposing a Chief Minister’s decision of June 2008 in favour of the Hindu community and letting at least seven people die in the subsequent counter Hindu protests — was it an evidence of its “reconciliation policy” which Ms Mufti reiterated at her Press meet after the BJP’s withdrawal decision? Or was it, instead, a “muscular policy” (of the Modi government) which she rubbished in that address to the media?
The fact remains that the BJP was being too idealistic when it agreed, after long-drawn discussions, to start a coalition government with the PDP.
Its first error was that it appointed a weak man as the Deputy Chief Minister of J&K. The appointee, Nirmal Singh, could not even speak coherently, confidently and slyly to TV reporters. The man for the job was 61-year-old Dr. Jitendra Singh, hailing from Jammu. He was a professor of diabetes and endocrinology, a consultant and clinical practitioner, author of 8 books, and a newspaper columnist, resigning from a Government job as the as Professor, Medicine for pursuing his political career. He played a historic role in 2008 Amarnath Land Row Agitation, as a member of the core committee of Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti. Hailing from Udhampur, he defeated Ghulam Nabi Azad in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. He would have been a truly worthy representative of the BJP in J&K, amply capable of winning the youth and the old in that State. He also would help all Kashmiris understand the constitutional status of J&K that it “is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India” – something about which the BJP has, for years, been poor in its public relations. And, being born in a Rajput family, he would have more than stood up against Ms. Mehbooba’s pro-Islamic and pro-Pakistan commitment.
All that, alas, is now in the past. And a very serious stock-taking is essential. Let it think of the future.
First of all, do not give an extension to the existing State Governor, N.N. Vohra, whose 10-year term ends on June 24 this year. Instead, appoint a new Governor — a strong Army man. That will help immensely to halt terrorism, external and internal. He must, first of all, remove each and every stone in the State so that those bloody stone pelters from being able to get hold of a stone. And thus that still remain, inflict jail on them; end all the amnesties given to them so far.
Secondly, get the Kashmir children (from the age of ten onwards) involved in the socio-economic activities in schools, military academies from the funds of Government of India, of those sought from charitable trusts. Appoint an Army set-up for this purpose. For adults of all ages, spread the undeniable fact that J&K was, in fact, given the right to self-determination through a Constituent Assembly established in 1951 by the Yuvraj of the State. In fact, vaporize all doubting Thomases on the various rights of J&K State citizens as well as those of the rest of India.
Yes, this writer is of the firm opinion that a very important need of J&K State is massive PR accompanied by sustained efforts to make the people there to be truly integrated with residents here.
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