One Kashmir leader during the ongoing assembly poll campaign in the state warned voters against the BJP foisting a Hindu Chief Minister to govern them. He was rightly criticized for his communal approach. But he was responding only to several BJP leaders asserting earlier that they would ensure that a Hindu Chief Minister will govern Kashmir. Was that less or even more communal in the current context? The BJP leaders by their declared goal betrayed their communal mindset. Why could they not have aspired to promote a BJP Chief Minister instead of a Hindu Chief Minister? Or is it beyond the imagination of BJP leaders that they can ever field a Muslim Chief Minister?
What the BJP leaders had in mind most likely was the fact that the Chief Minister of Kashmir invariably belongs to the Valley and not ever to Jammu or Ladakh. Together Jammu and Ladakh have just a handful of fewer legislators than elected from the Valley. The goal of electing a Chief Minister from outside the Valley is not therefore objectionable. But the solution to redress an injustice to Jammu and Ladakh is not what the BJP is attempting. It seeks to win enough seats from the Valley which in addition to the seats won from Jammu and Ladakh would give the party a majority and enable it to install their Chief Minister. The solution pursued by the BJP is fraught with danger. It might foment communal tensions and create greater disharmony and instability in the region.
Ironically there is a simple and rational solution in keeping with the BJP’s declared policy agenda to resolve this problem which its leaders continue to ignore. The BJP is committed to a longstanding demand for a second States Reorganization Commission for creating smaller states to address the demands for new states emanating from several regions of the country. The BJP has already endorsed the demand for a separate Vidharbha state to be carved out of present Maharashtra. In the light of its declared policy why does not Mr. Modi’s government act to create three separate entities out of present day Kashmir? The Valley, Jammu and Ladakh have all three distinct and separate cultures, ethnicities, languages and religious majorities. They deserve to be separated to ensure more self rule for all the peoples of the state. The Valley and Jammu can be made new states and Ladakh can become a separate Union Territory.
The problem with the BJP presently is that its leaders are so obsessed with winning elections and extending their party’s rule over every corner of the nation that they have all but forgotten policies and the need to implement them.