Challenges to bringing Hindu as CM in J&K
Intense debate is going on in political and social circles on the issue of Hindu as CM of UT of J&K. Indeed, it’s an issue of great import. It needs to be discussed in minute details to find if the demand in Jammu for Hindu CM is justifiable or untenable and provocative given two facts:
- J&K is a Muslim majority State where the proportion of Muslims and non-Muslims is about 60:40.
- The overwhelmingly Hindu-majority Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bihar and Assam had Muslim CMs. They were AR Antuley, Barkat Ullah Khan, Abdul Gafoor and Syedena Tamur, respectively.
All other Wazir-e-Azam’s and CMs were the creations of New Delhi. This is what a peep into the controversial electoral and political history of J&K post-1947 clearly suggests.
The question being asked is: Who could be an appropriate Hindu candidate for the top executive position in J&K? But before we attempt to find an answer to this important question, it’s imperative to set the record straight as far as the elevation of persons from the Kashmir-based majority community to the top executive position between March 5, 1948, and April 4, 2016, is concerned. It’s a must to clear all the cobwebs of confusion and establish that it was none other than the Congress and the BJP-controlled South and North Blocks which helped those Kashmiri politicians occupy the CM chair and rule or misrule the communally sensitive and strategic erstwhile State of J&K.
It would be only politically prudent to point out that it was only twice that Kashmiri politicians could capture power on the basis of popular mandate whatever it means under the Indian democratic system. They were Sheikh Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah. Sheikh Abdullah became CM in 1977 on his own strength taking cudgels with the then PM Indira Gandhi and Farooq Abdullah became CM in October 1996 winning two-third majority in the 87-member House. However, there are persons who opine that PM P V Narasimha Rao was behind the elevation of Farooq Abdullah as CM. All other Wazir-e-Azam’s and CMs were the creations of New Delhi. This is what a peep into the controversial electoral and political history of J&K post-1947 clearly suggests.
History of appointments of Wazir-e-Azam
It was JL Nehru who appointed as Wazir-e-Azam Sheikh Abdulla in 1948, Bakshi Ghulam Mohd in 1953, Shamsuddin in 1963 and GM Sadiq in 1964. It was Indira Gandhi who appointed as CM Mir Qasim in 1971, Sheikh Abdullah in 1975, Farooq Abdullah in 1982 and GM Shah in 1984. It was Rajiv Gandhi who appointed as CM Farooq Abdullah in 1986 and 1987. It was Sonia Gandhi who appointed as CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in 2002, GN Azad in 2005 and Omar Abdullah in 2009. And, it was Narendra Modi and Amit Shah who made Mufti Sayeed CM in 2015 and Mehbooba Mufti CM in 2016.
One may or may not agree, but it’s a fact that all of them were the products of controversial electoral exercises or political accords between individuals. For example, Indira-Sheikh Accord (1974), Rajiv-Farooq Accord (1986), Sonia-Mufti Accord (2002), Sonia-NC accord (2009) and BJP-Mufti Accords (2015 and 2016). And remember, all this was done in the name of what the Congress and the BJP leadership called “national interest”. I will refrain from reflecting on how they defended or promoted national interest in J&K as who in the country is not aware of the fallout of the implementation of the national interest doctrine, New Delhi-style.
New Delhi tested Abdullahs, Muftis and others in Kashmir for 72 years. The results are before our eyes – disaster, migration from Kashmir, demographic changes in Jammu province, separatism and inter-regional tensions and animosities.
New Delhi played a crucial role in J&K
All this must put things in perspective and help all the concerned understand what exactly happened in J&K after the accession of J&K to India. We would do well to underline all this. What we need to underline all the more is the fact that New Delhi played the most crucial role as far as the rise of the Abdullahs, the Muftis and others in Kashmir were concerned. New Delhi always played a foul game in Jammu by not allowing any Hindu leader to establish his/her leadership. New Delhi in collaboration with Kashmiri leadership or vice-versa never left any stone unturned to undermine him\her by denouncing them as communal, sectarian, anti-Kashmir, reactionary, backwards-looking and trouble-maker.
It would be an understatement if I may say so that the powers-that-be at the Centre only snubbed Hindus of Jammu and Kashmir. They always considered them a problem despite the fact that they fought relentlessly to defend and promote further the national cause in the state. The ruling elite in New Delhi virtually warned the Hindus again and again that any move on their part to fight for the Jammu cause or seek parity between Jammu province and Kashmir at all levels and in all spheres will run counter to the national interest and help Pakistan promote its cause in the state. The truth is that the authorities at the Centre ignored and snubbed those Hindu leaders who would speak for the nation, for J&K State as a whole and seek respectable say and share in the governance of the state.
In 2014, people of Jammu province voted overwhelmingly for J&K BJP hoping it would respect its solemn pledge and work for the installation of a Hindu from Jammu as J&K CM. Sadly, it went back on its pledge and hobnobbed with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against whose ideology it had fought. No wonder, people of Jammu province are chaffing and J&K BJP at the receiving end. Demand in Jammu for a Hindu CM is democratic, secular, rational and genuine. It’s the fundamental duty of all parties to appreciate this demand in the larger interest of the state, make-Hindu-J&K-CM as their chief plank and contest elections on this issue as and when held. Similarly, it would be the responsibility of the electorate to vote for a party which, they think, could ensure the installation of a Hindu as J&K CM. Again, it would be the responsibility of the concerned party to elect a public-spirited Hindu with an impeccable record as leader of Legislature Party. The installation of a Hindu as CM would help bridge the gulf between Jammu province and Kashmir. All would appreciate Kashmiri leadership, which led J&K for over seven decades if it also takes the plunge to support the demand in Jammu for a Hindu CM. They must remember that installation of a Hindu as J&K CM will go a long way in promoting secularism, democracy and pluralism in the UT.
New Delhi tested Abdullahs, Muftis and others in Kashmir for 72 years. The results are before our eyes – disaster, migration from Kashmir, demographic changes in Jammu province, separatism and inter-regional tensions and animosities. PM Narendra Modi and HM Amit Shah have changed the course of J&K history by doing away with the past wrongs and past approaches. It’s time for New Delhi to think in terms of appointing a Hindu as J&K CM. There is no dearth of public-spirited Hindus in Jammu.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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- Kashmir’s appeasement shrinking BJP’s support-base in Jammu - January 24, 2021
- DDC poll results show polarisation in J&K is complete - January 8, 2021