Why Players Who Make The PDP-BJP Alliance Sustain Need To Do More

5 November 2015
Anil Anand

New Delhi: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi heads to Kashmir on his first trip to the state after the BJP-PDP coalition came to power, the time is right for a look into the main characters assigned a larger-than-life role of forging and sustaining the combine. From being backrooms boys, they have come into full bloom on their own in the none-too-impressive existence of the state dispensation so far. There is no denying the fact that when RSS's face in the BJP Ram Madhav and journalist-turned- politician Haseeb Drabu (now the finance minister) were tasked with ensuring smooth functioning of the alliance, they had the full backing of the senior leaders on either side. The role meant an elevation of their status. Unfortunately, over-stress on political management has always been the key word for any experiment in the troubled state and the scenario is no different in the present context. No matter how tall are the promises made on providing good governance and resolving intra- and inter-regional contradictions within the state, focus on political short-cuts annuls these commitments. Both Madhav and Drabu have been made to look as the guardians entrusted with the task of ensuring smooth sailing of the combine more in political terms and less on any other measure. From the very beginning both were rated as surprise choices for the task as none had any political experience of this variety. This was assumed that they would become the fall guys in the event of the alliance failing and top BJP and PDP leaders would be spared the blame. The prime objective of the alliance as enunciated on top of the 15-point agenda of governance was to create an environment of peace, certainty and stability in order to achieve the political and economic objectives of the combine. This was an onerous task for the characters involved and the scenario emerging at the time of Modi's visit amply proves that. The inherent contradictions in the thinking of the BJP and the PDP were a known secret and it would be naive to think that the top leadership on two sides nose-dived into the arrangement without factoring in this. On the face of it the alliance between the two parties might not seem rocky as they are bound by a common denominator of 'power sharing'. But everything else on ground is rocky and gives a sense of destabilisation at the societal levels. The political manoeuvres this time around have only succeeded in bringing the leaders on two sides together for government formation. But the failure on this count is miserable on two fronts; Firstly, the political message did not affectively percolate down to the cadres of the two political parties with different and diverse constituencies. Secondly, state leaders in both the parties miserably failed in convincing the masses about their real intent behind the government formation as the PDP supporters in the Valley and BJP supporters in Jammu regions were disinclined towards such a political arrangement. As the interlocutors and other advocates of this alliance travelled to-and-fro between Delhi- Srinagar and Delhi-Jammu and vice-versa with feverish pitch during the last nine months apparently none could either ensure or convince their respective masters about the need to provide effective governance. Had this happened it could have acted as a balm to the otherwise indifferent masses, in both Jammu and Kashmir, towards this alliance. Nothing happens in Kashmir without being preceded or followed by a trail of controversies, some created others situational. And the run up to Prime Minister Modi's visit to the state has developed some interesting contours. Interestingly, those behind drawing these contours are old Kashmir hands; one, of course, is Mufti Mohammed Sayeed the chief minister; the other a seasoned Congressman and a close aide of Gandhi family Makhan Lal Fotedar. It is not incidental that the two happen to be the closest friends and share a political thought. When the Mufti recently went out of his way to praise Modi, stating that he was acting on the Kashmir front not only on the basis of Intelligence Bureau reports but also on inputs provided by the RSS, it showed that the old warhorse still has a card up his sleeves. Fotedar through his pronouncement that the Congress would soon split was only strengthening his fellow Kashmiri's hands.