What would have been the result had the Governor allowed the PDP to form the coalition government in the communally sensitive and strategically located border State of Jammu & Kashmir?
On November 21, Jammu & Kashmir Governor SP Malik dissolved the State Assembly. It was a step in the right direction given the prevailing situation in the state and the negative attitude of the Kashmir-based parties, including People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of Mehbooba Mufti, National Conference (NC) of Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah and Rahul Gandhi’s Congress party, to the ongoing election process at the grassroots level in the state. The same day, the erstwhile bitter political foes NC, the PDP and the Congress also formed Grand Alliance to form the coalition government in the state. As per the government formation formula, the PDP was to lead the coalition government with the Congress becoming its part and the NC supporting it from outside.
The result of the coalition would have been disastrous both for the nation and the non-Muslim minorities in Jammu province and trans-Himalayan Ladakh.
The decision of the Governor has evoked a strong reaction from the PDP, the NC and the Congress. Not unexpected. The PDP has claimed that the Grand Alliance had 56 (read 53) MLAs in the 87-member Jammu & Kashmir Assembly; that it tried its best to contact Governor through fax machine to tell him that the Grand Alliance wanted to form coalition government; and that “the fax machine at the Governor’s residence (in Jammu) didn’t receive our fax” through which the Grand Alliance sought to urge the Governor to invite the PDP to form government. Mehbooba Mufti, in fact, accused the Governor of playing a foul game to deny the Grand Alliance its constitutional right to form the government. It is hardly necessary to elucidate further what Mehbooba Mufti said in her politically motivated statement.
It is a different matter that the Congress, the PDP and the NC all through a subverted constitution to appease the majority community in Jammu & Kashmir and held the State aloof from the national mainstream through anti-democratic, anti-people, highly divisive and discriminatory Article 35A and Article 370.
Reacting to the charges of the Grand Alliance, the Governor said that he dissolved the Assembly to avoid horse-trading. He also defended his decision saying that the NC, the PDP and the Congress had repeatedly urged him to dissolve the Assembly on the ground that the BJP had been trying to break other political parties, including the PDP, and form a coalition government in the state to be headed by Sajad lone of the People’s Conference (PC). He told the NC, the PDP and the Congress to knock at the doors of a court if they were unhappy with the dissolution of the Assembly. Interestingly, the BJP has defended the Governor’s decision and accused the Congress, the PDP and the NC of forging an “unholy alliance”. So much so, the BJP has termed all the three Kashmir-based parties as “separatist-friendly”. The reaction and response of the BJP have been on expected lines.
What would have been the result had the Governor allowed the PDP to form the coalition government in the communally sensitive and strategically located border State of Jammu & Kashmir? Clearly, the result would have been disastrous both for the nation and the non-Muslim minorities in Jammu province and trans-Himalayan Ladakh. Non-Muslim minorities constitute 40 per cent of the state’s population. The PDP-led coalition government with the Congress being its part and the NC supporting it from outside would have been a government constituted virtually from one region (Kashmir) and one community alone (read Muslim community). The PDP, the NC and the Congress are all ardent believers in the concept of the limited accession of Jammu & Kashmir to India. Each one of these political parties is known for its hatred for (1) Indian Constitution, Indian laws and Indian institutions; (2) for its hatred for Jammu and Ladakh and non-Muslim minorities these two regions house; (3) for its politics of emotional blackmail and politics of exclusion of the Other; and (4) for its soft approach towards separatists and terrorists of all varieties. Everything is in the public domain. Indeed, all the three are squarely responsible for the problems the nation has been facing in Kashmir for decades. They never missed any opportunity to pit the majority community against the nation to promote their own selfish interests.
Separation would help the nation in two ways. It would restrict Jihad to the tiny Kashmir Valley and it would empower and strengthen Jammu and Ladakh, the nation’s backbone in the state
It needs to be underlined that the PDP has 26 MLAs. All are from the majority community. 23 are from Kashmir and three from Jammu. Similarly, Congress has 12 MLAs. 4 are from Jammu, 5 from Kashmir and 3 from Ladakh. Not one Congress MLA is a Hindu. As for the NC, it has 15 MLAs. 13 are from the majority community and two from the minority community. In other words, 51 out of 53 MLAs are from the majority community. Had they been allowed to form the coalition government, it would have been an all Muslim government. It would have a government consisting of the pro-self-rule or pro-quasi independence and pro-Pakistan PDP; pro-autonomy or pro-semi-independence NC; and pro-1975 Indira-Sheikh Accord Congress. It’s obvious that the rise to power of such parties in the border state would have hampered the ongoing anti-insurgency operations and enabled the break-India forces to regroup themselves to achieve their most cherished dream: Separation of Jammu & Kashmir from Bharat. To be more precise, the formation of the PDP, the Congress and the NC coalition government would have endangered national security.
The other dangerous fallout would have been the further neglect, marginalization and destruction of the non-Muslim minorities in Jammu and Ladakh and an impetus to the ongoing demographic invasion on both Jammu and Ladakh through legislative and executive routes and pliable bureaucracy. It would not be out of place to mention that Kashmiri rulers belonging to a particular religious sect, without any exception, exploited to the hilt the people of Jammu and Ladakh. They never considered them part and parcel of the Jammu & Kashmir society. They offered them only crumbs and enriched the majority community in Kashmir and also enriched Kashmir’s economy at the cost of Jammu and Ladakh. This, despite the fact that there used to be some non-Muslim ministers in the Cabinet and the State Council of Ministers. Just imagine what would have happened in Jammu and Ladakh, had the Cabinet and Council of Ministers constituted by the members of the majority community alone.
The manner in which the Congress, the PDP and the NC formed Grand Alliance and the reasons they cited for launching such an alliance vindicated late President R Venkataraman, who had asked late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to grant Union Territory status to Ladakh, give a status of statehood to Jammu and deal with Kashmir separately. His suggestion was valid then and his suggestion is more valid now as the Congress, the NC and PDP have all joined hands and outraged the sensitivities of the non-Muslim minorities in the state by declaring that they formed Grand Alliance to defend Article 35A and Article 370, as also to defend the state’s special status. It is hoped that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would rise to the occasion and do what Indira Gandhi didn’t do. Separation of Jammu and Ladakh from Kashmir is a national requirement and exigency of the time. Separation would help the nation in two ways. It would restrict Jihad to the tiny Kashmir Valley and it would empower and strengthen Jammu and Ladakh, the nation’s backbone in the state.
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