The sudden demise of the chief minister of J&K Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has unfolded a new chapter of political instability in the valley state and the transition of power to his successor and her daughter which was perceived as almost certain has turned into guessing game from the side of Mehbooba Mufti.
It would be really interesting to watch what made Mehbooba Mufti to keep his ally BJP in J&K with heart in mouth with every passing moment to wait for her next step.
The uneasy calm which was witnessed from both sides since the coalition of political convenience was stitched none months ago in troubled state could never develop into coalition of trust for both sides as their constituency and political compulsions made them both to look at each other with more distrust with each passing day and there had been occasions when the rhetoric from second rank leaders from both sides put the coalition in crisis but the compulsion to not be seen as political naïve to people and observers the boat of coalition was sailing anyhow .
In new circumstances it too look remote possibility that both the coalition partners BJP and PDP will part their ways without any concrete excuse and will like to seen before people of the state as political naïve and political opportunist who came together to enjoy the power not to serve the people as both the parties claim .
If we have to decipher the future of coalition and try to read the minds of Mehbooba Mufti and other PDP leaders we have to look to the background of the coalition to analyze what made both the coalition partners to come together and compromise their hard ideological grandstanding.
On the one side Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to use the platform of J&K state to reach out to those groups within state who have been left out of mainstream of development as like his previous Prime Ministers he also thought that development in valley and Jammu is the answer to the insurgency and it will help to isolate the separatist , on the other PDP which lost some of its political ground in state elections could not risk her political relevance to go in any coalition with either Congress or NC and in their opinion their bonhomie with Delhi will provide them leverage on its policies and release of funds for state . In other words both the coalition partners give development more credence to other issues of the state.
After nine months of the governance both the coalition partners are stuck in a situation where their ideological standings and political constituency related with this ideological standing has come on the surface as the flood in the state and inability to deliver something miraculous on development front has not been able to enthuse the people of the state to disconnect them from those issues which haunting the state for almost more than two decades.
Mehbooba Mufti wants to use this opportunity of transition of power as new beginning with new terms and bargaining.
- Mehbooba Mufti is lingering on the process of the formation of the government to give a signal to the people of the state and her followers that she is not a power hungry politician and will not form the government unless new terms and conditions are set for coalition.
- Mehbooba Mufti want some big development projects in state which could give her face saving before her constituency and to stretch her support base beyond the valley to build the PDP more stronger political force than NC .
- The most important aspect of the guessing game is to influence the Pakistan policy of the Union government and bring Hurriyat or other groups (To which Union government consider as separatist and don’t want to give them credence in any negotiations on Kashmir issue) on negotiating table as party to any Kashmir talks. At the same time PDP knows well that the rhetoric on Pakistan is something different from the ground reality and they openly support the role of Pakistan in Kashmir issue in the garb of the demand of the mutual understanding between Delhi, Srinagar and Islamabad.
Let’s see how long the guessing game in J&K continues and what the new terms, conditions and red lines Mehbooba Mufti can set for the coalition in coming days.