Polarised Vote Banks to Blame Kashmir Stalement

With the parties failing to forge an alliance following a broken mandate in Jammu and Kashmir, and now the Governor's rule, some political hawks of the state opine that the imbroglio has been caused by a "fractured mandate" and the polls that were "polarised by vote-bank politics".

Muzaffar Shah, senior vice president of J&K Awami National Conference (JKANC) and son of former chief minister late G. M. Shah, in an   interview  threw light on what ails the state's political theatre despite a "historic and unprecedented" voting as per the Election Commission.

Asked with none of the parties, including Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), winning 44+ seats required to form single-party government and the Governor's rule imposed,  will it not be betraying people's mandate if opposing parties shook hands, Shah said the term "betrayal is not correct."

"It's a very uncertain situation on the ground. The fractured mandate is the outcome of forced elections, the polarisation due to vote bank politics."

Asked about his observation of the recent polls and what kind of message the pollsters conveyed to leaders by not supporting any single party in Jammu and Kashmir to be their voice, Shah said the message stands clear "perform or perish".

Denying that it would justify the election mandate if arch rival parties during elections opt to turn 'friends' after polls, despite having pitted candidates against each other, Shah warned "rather forcibly becoming friends will not mean friendship".

About the suggested formula of each (PDP and BJP) taking turns to rule the state for three years, Shah pointed towards the state's political history. "If you are working for the benefit of the common man, is it necessary to share power? Coalitions have proved disastrous to J&K."

When asked if a relatively young Omar Abdullah's inexperience cost him dearly, Shah said: "Performance in handling a coalition is a Herculean task. To be fair to Omar Abdullah, he tried his level best. And yes, in some areas he lagged behind."

The Omar-government "could have given better results", he added. 

As ANC recently stated in the Supreme Court (SC) that 7.2 million voters were affected in the state, 2,600 villages hit by floods and 390 villages submerged, Shah also admitted that "not getting a stable government will definitely prolong their woes".

"However, I am also of the opinion that the Governor's rule could do a better job in the absence of nil political pressure from various quarters," he added.

There are murmurs about the RSS desiring a Hindu leader in the chief minister or deputy chief minister's chair, though the idea was suggested by a Congress leader from Jammu ahead of announcement of poll dates.

Asked if a demand for Hindu leader is completely unjustified, irrespective of who raised it, after looking at the solid mandate in Jammu for the BJP, Shah said: "Why are we dividing J&K on regional and religious basis? It is a very sensitive state with alarming ramifications. This Hindu-Muslim business will be the basis of its final break-up."

"Yes, the state is a Muslim majority state and it will be disastrous to change or temper with its character," the ANC leader added.

Asked if the National Conference-Congress government's performance during floods or failure to fulfil previous election promises proved disastrous, Shah said: "It was terrible to bear Congress leaders speak negatively about their coalition partner. They were playing a pure vote bank politics and they faced flak for such irresponsible remarks."

Stating about the public's actual desire from its next leadership and Kashmiris' cynicism for Narendra Modi in implementing Atal Bihari Vajpayee's "humanity, democracy and Kashmiriyat" spirit, Shah said: "People in Jammu and Kashmir mostly want resolution of the vexed Kashmir issue through peaceful means along with good governance without bloodshed."    


More by :  R C Ganjoo

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