Assembly dissolved: What are the options for NC, PDP

  • Javaid Malik
  • Publish Date: Nov 25 2018 10:13AM
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  • Updated Date: Nov 25 2018 10:13AM
Assembly dissolved: What are the options for NC, PDPRepresentational Pic

When Peoples Democratic Party joined hands with Bharatiya Janata Party in 2015 to form the government in Jammu and Kashmir the adage - Politics makes strange bed fellows - held true and in 2018 when it (PDP) entered into a grand alliance with National Conference and Congress this old saying was vindicated again.

PDP had contested 2014 assembly polls on the plank that it wants to keep the BJP away from Jammu and Kashmir but after it emerged as a single largest party in the state it joined hands with the same BJP which it wanted to keep away from the state. PDP shared power with the BJP for more than three and half years. The bonhomie came to an end when BJP pulled the plug in June this year. Suddenly the coalition partners who were sharing power turned into foes and blamed each other for the state being in mess.   

After the PDP-BJP government fell in Jammu and Kashmir PDP’s bête-noire National Conference wrote off the PDP and announced that party is all set to become history. However, five months after BJP said goodbye to the PDP, the National Conference sprung a surprise by offering support to the PDP to form the government in Jammu and Kashmir. However, the Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved the Assembly before NC, PDP and Congress could put their act together and rule the state.  

An analyst while talking to Kashmir Ink said that the past five months have been tough for the Kashmir based parties as the BJP led NDA government pushed them to the wall and turned them “irrelevant.” “Fear of losing the ground completely have made the NC and PDP bury the hatchet and join hands to send a clear message to the BJP that together they could become a force to reckon with and disturb their applecart in J&K,” the analyst added.

The dissolution of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has paved the way for fresh assembly elections in the state. NC and PDP joining hands in Kashmir is an indication that both the parties can come together again if the next elections throw up a fractured mandate. “Both NC and PDP have realized that if BJP wins the 2019 parliamentary polls it would make things difficult for them and to save themselves from the onslaught they would have to put up a united front,” said a politician.         

“The Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolving the Assembly is a clear message to the Kashmir based parties that they are not welcome anymore. New Delhi wants to keep them on the fence at least for time being,” he said, “When armed rebellion broke out in Kashmir in 1990 state remained under New Delhi’s rule for more than six years. No elections were held till the government forces regained control.”

Soon after the Governor Malik dissolved the Assembly he issued a detailed statement explaining the reasons for dissolving the state legislature.  One of the reasons he said was the “fragile security scenario” in Jammu and Kashmir. “There is a need to have a stable and supportive environment for security forces which are engaged in extensive anti-militancy operations and are gradually gaining control over the security situation,” the statement said. 

Security situation in Kashmir is “fragile” and no one can say when the security situation in the Valley would improve. It can take six months or even 6 years. There is no guarantee about when fresh assembly elections would be held. The top BJP leaders have been reiterating that they are happy with the Governor’s rule and they would like it to continue.

Many people believe that if political stalemate continues it can have far reaching consequences for the Kashmir based mainstream parties. These parties will find it hard to survive. Soon after the Assembly was dissolved the BJP leaders started shouting at the top of their voices that NC, PDP and even Congress are “terror friendly” parties and they had come together on the instructions of Pakistan to form the government in the state. 

The National General Secretary of BJP and party’s point-man for J&K Ram Madhav alleged: “PDP & NC boycotted local body polls last month because they had instructions from across the border. Probably they had fresh instructions from across the border to come together & form govt,” Madhav said.

Madahav’s assertion evoked sharp reaction from the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah. He dared Madhav to prove the allegations that the alliance for government formation among NC-PDP-Congress was on Pakistan’s behest or ‘be man enough to apologize.’

“No, misplaced attempts at humour won’t work. You HAVE claimed my party has been acting at the behest of Pakistan. I dare you to prove it! Place the evidence of your allegation of NC boycott of ULB polls at Pak behest in public domain. It’s an open challenge to you & your Govt,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

Madhav responded:  “Just take it in your stride @OmarAbdullah Not questioning your patriotism at all. But d sudden love between NC n PDP n d hurry to form government leads to many suspicions n political comments. Not to offend u.”

“I dare you @rammadhavbjp ji to prove your allegation. You have RAW, NIA & IB at your command (CBI too is your parrot) so have the guts to place evidence in the public domain. Either prove this or be man enough to apologise. Don’t practice shoot & scoot politics,” Omar wrote on twitter.

A Kashmir watcher said that attempts are being made to “discredit” the Kashmir based parties so that their space is choked. “New Delhi it looks like wants to project new leaders in Kashmir and wants to get rid of Abdullahs and Muftis. It seems that fresh Assembly polls won’t be held till Centre finds a replacement for the old horses,” he said.

He said that if NC and PDP have to survive they would have to keep their options open as BJP is already ruling 22 states in the country and it would not like “command” to slip in J&K as the BJP leaders know it very well that J&K is strategically an important state. 

Kashmir based parties NC and PDP have tried out everything even coming together but they are not being entertained by New Delhi.  If BJP wins the 2019 parliamentary polls then NC and PDP would really find it difficult to keep BJP away from the Valley. The equation can tilt if there is change of guard in Centre. For the time being NC, Congress and PDP which represented nearly 70% people in the recently dissolved Assembly have been asked to sit on the fence and act as spectators.