• Javid Malik
  • Publish Date: Sep 2 2018 10:33PM
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  • Updated Date: Sep 2 2018 10:33PM
NEW GOVT IN J&K: HOW NEAR? OR HOW FAR?A Kashmir watcher said that PDP rebels have “limited options” with them.

Many expected that new political dispensation in Jammu and Kashmir would be in place soon after the annual Amarnath pilgrimage ends. Have the PDP rebels been unable to get the requisite numbers, asks Javaid Malik

Even two and a half months after BharatiyaJanata Party pulled out of the Peoples Democratic Party-led government in Jammu and Kashmir, possibilities about new dispensation being put at place look bleak. PDP leaders who raised the banner of revolt against the party top brass seem to have reconciled with the fact that they don’t have the requisite numbers and hence cannot go ahead.

One of the PDP rebel MLAs Javed Hussain Beigh while talking to the Kashmir Ink said that he doesn’t see any possibility of the new government being formed in the coming days.

“A few people have raised the pitch for having a Chief Minister from Jammu. I don’t think that anyone in Kashmir is ready for that.”

He said that if the BJP wants to have a Chief Minister from Jammu then it should demand the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly and press for holding fresh elections in the state.

“They can announce their chief ministerial candidate and see whether they succeed in their endeavour or not,” said, JavedBeigh, younger brother of the PDP stalwart and Member Parliament MuzaffarHussainBeigh.

Javed Beigh, who represents Baramulla assembly constituency, said that since the day Governor rule has been imposed in the state, situation in Kashmir has “become calm” as everyone has been made accountable. “Even the Centre seems least interested in changing the present set up in J&K,” he added.

Beigh said that imposition of Governor rule in the J&K has allowed separatists and Pakistan to “settle down.” “They are happy as they are able to sell that there is no elected government in J&K. One can see that number of shutdown calls and stone-pelting incidents have declined during the past two months,” he added. 

General Secretary of the opposition National Conference Ali Muhammad Sagar said that history stands testimony to the fact that till date Delhi has conducted many experiments vis-à-vis political dispensations in J&K. “People in Delhi are trying to conduct one more experiment,” he added.

Sagar was of the opinion that Legislative Assembly should be dissolved and the people at the helm should focus on restoring the “shattered confidence” of the masses. “New Delhi needs to acknowledge that Kashmir is a political problem and it needs to be resolved. It should stop fiddling with the idea of having political dispensations at place as it will add to the confusion,” he added.    

A leader of the BharatiyaJanata Party, which has got 25 seats in the 87-member J&K Legislative Assembly, claimed that the state unit of the party is exploring all the options to form the new government in the state. “There are still more than two and a half years left for the tenure of the present assembly to end. There are many like-minded people in Jammu and Kashmir who want to join us,” he added.       

The BJP leader said that leaders in Jammu are of the opinion that if their party joins hands with Kashmir based group then it should not have any objection in having the Chief Minister from Jammu. “It’s not the question of Hindu CM or a Muslim CM. It’s a simple proposal that someone from Jammu should head the government. We have never objected to having a Chief Minister from Kashmir. I hope Kashmiri leaders will understand and won’t make this an issue,” he added.

Provincial president of the National Conference Nasir AslamWani described the talks about government formation as “wishful thinking.” “People who are talking about the new dispensation seem unaware about the fact that J&K has got a very strong anti-defection law in place. The PDP rebels at least need 20 members to claim that they are the real PDP. Just six members cannot do anything. I don’t see any government being formed in coming days,” he said.   

After losing power and facing rebellion in the party, the PDP president Mehbooba Mufti is trying her best to keep the party intact. Till date she has not initiated any disciplinary action against any of the rebel leaders and has kept the doors of her party open. By restructuring her party and giving important positions to the senior leaders she has driven home a point that she has taken the suggestions of rebel leaders seriously and acted upon them.

She has already dropped enough hints that PDP cannot be split so easily. More than 20 MLAs attending the PDP foundation day ceremony in Srinagar and 16 MLAs accompanying Mehbooba to New Delhi to attend last rites of the former Prime Minister AtalBihari Vajpayee are making BJP think. 

The BJP central leaders are silent about the government formation in J&K and have been maintaining that they are happy with the Governor rule as it has helped them in making the situation better in Kashmir.

A Kashmir watcher said that PDP rebels have “limited options” with them. “They have been caught between the devil and the deep sea. They have been speculating that everyone is with them but till date no one has come forward.”

He said that the PDP rebels had created a notion that new dispensation would be in place soon after the annual Amarnathyatra ends but it looks like that they have failed to mobilize the support. “It sees that the tables have been turned on them,” he added.   

Chief spokesman of the PDP, Rafi Ahmed Mir, said that when a few MLAs raised the banner of revolt everyone started assuming that the new government would be formed. “The fact is that governments are not formed so easily. Developments which have taken place during the past two months have proved that nothing is going to happen.”

Mir maintained that the PDP President Mehbooba Mufti enjoys the support of more than 20 MLAs. “We have not closed the doors for the estranged party leaders. Nor have we expelled them,” he said.

The PDP chief spokesman said the estranged party leaders are in touch with the party leaders. “They (PDP rebels) have not attended any formal party meeting but they are in touch with us informally. We still consider them as a part of the PDP,” Mir added.