March 2016 News

Kashmir Valley Divided On Breakthrough In Impasse

22 March 2016
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Majid Jahangir

Srinagar: With the decks being apparently cleared for the formation of the new PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir, people in the Valley remain divided over the future of the state under the coalition. While some of the people argued in favour of the elected government, the others sought continuation of the Governor's rule in the state. Various administrative decisions, including release of package to the flood-affected people, have popularised the Governor's rule in the state, with people crediting NN Vohra for breaking the administrative inertia. At a tea stall in the city centre, a group of youngsters was sipping tea when the vendor switched to a news channel. They all got closer to the TV to hear what PDP president Mehbooba Mufti was saying on government formation after her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. 'It is good that we will have an elected government now,' said Tariq Ahmed, an Anantnag resident. 'But she (Mehbooba) did not say anything on whether the BJP has agreed on the issues which she had been talking about all these months. There is no clarity,' Tariq added. Another youth, Mushtaq Ahmed, chipped in and said the Governor's rule was 'much better' and things were really moving. 'We got flood relief during the Governor's rule and I personally feel it should have continued,' said Mushtaq Ahmed, a Rajbagh resident. The difference of opinion was not limited to the tea stall only. There was a visible divide across the city when the news about the possible government formation started pouring in. 'It is good that that stalemate is coming to end and J&K will have an elected government soon. There are clear indications that Jammu and Kashmir is set to have first female Chief Minister,' said Peer GN Suhail, Director, Centre for Research and Development Policy. Suhail, however, was skeptical about the future of the coalition. 'Running the government with the BJP would not be an easy task for Mehbooba. She has not held any administrative post so far. However, her decade-long experience in Kashmir politics will play an important role in developing consensus with her coalition partner and opposition parties. Let us hope that she turns a better administrator,' he said.