The political deadlock in Jammu and Kashmir, where no party could win majority in the Assembly election held two months ago, has come to an end with the forging of the Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance and the swearing-in of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as state chief minister today.
Along with Sayeed, twelve each from the PDP and BJP have been inducted as ministers. Significantly, Nirmal Singh of the BJP has been sworn-in as Deputy Chief minister in the new cabinet.
Ex-separatist leader Sajjad Lone has also been inducted as a minister.
The formation of a PDP-BJP government is an experiment that will be watched closely not only in J&K and rest of the country but across the globe. The BJP and PDP have decided to work together under a common minimum programme (CMP) and that includes putting on the shelf BJP’s much touted agenda relating to Article 370 of the Constitution that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir. BJP has also been very vocal with party leaders shouting from rooftops for the brutal manner in which the Kashmiri Pandits were hounded out of their homes by the separatists and secessionist forces. The BJP stand on these issues on the one side and the present CMP that would keep the J&K government going is a dichotomy that is going to remain a puzzle at least for the BJP rank and file. many staunch RSS men have already started questioning BJP’s hunger for power in a border state where the separatists and cross-border terrorism have kept the whole country to ransom and the armed forces engaged for a long time.
In a federal structure, it is not necessary to chase power in every state todeliver and meet the hopes and aspirations of the people. Given the situation in Jammu and Kashmir where during electoineering every time Lone returned from campaigning with his gun toting body guards he used to feel relieved. it remains to be seen, how hot the chase would now be, with PDP-BJP alliance government in power, when it comes to the terrorists, separatists and the disruptionist elements and the so-called Jehadis who would always be too ready to infiltrate the porous border. This situation is likely to get aggravated when the US forces leave Afghanistan by the end of 2016. Everyone would now be watching the the Modi Government’s stand once the demand reaches its peak on the revocation of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), which gives special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in what the act terms as “disturbed areas” in J&K. People have already started raising eyebrows over a certain observation by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. He said within hours of his swearing-in ceremony which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the militants, separatists and “people from across the border” had allowed the building of the atmosphere for polls in J&K. He was addressing a press conference flanked the newly sworn-in Deputy chief Minister Nirmal Singh of BJP. Sayeed observed: “God forbid if they had done something. It would not have been possible to conduct the elections smoothly.” He even placed on record that he had told the Prime Minister: “we must credit the Hurriyat, Pakistan and militant outfits for the conduct of assembly elections in the state,”
Earlier Congress leaders P Chidambaram and Saifuddin Soz had termed the Armed Forces Special Powers Act as an “obnoxious law” and advocated the need for its revocation.Already in the process of bridging the PDP-BJP alliance the BJP leaders were more than accommodating and and demonstrating the willingness to soften the party’s stand on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.