Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir state Mehbooba Mufti's ferocious action of dumping Haseeb Drabu, finance minister on 12 March last , has been a new calculated move on a political chessboard by her , killing two birds with one stone. Her action has given a clear political message loud and clear that she should not be taken granted by her colleagues or ally partner BJP.
Surprisingly, no voice was being raised in favour of Drabu by his own party men, whereas Bharatiya Janata Party got scared of her hard decision taken. Drabu, in a meeting organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi on 9th March last said "Kashmir was not a political problem and a conflict state but a social problem".
Unfortunately, Drabu was not even given a chance to explain his position before he was sacked. However, in a letter circulated to media he said "The decision to drop me did come as a surprise but what was shocking was the manner and method of communicating it. I was not accorded the opportunity to explain the context and the content of my speech." If his statement is read between the line Drabu had only spoken the truth because Kashmir had been at the helm of affairs ever since the state's accession to Indian in 1947.
The reason for his removal is attributed to his proximity with Ram Madhav, the powerful BJP leader in-charge of Kashmir affairs, and that cost him his job. Moreover, he had become too big for his boots in the party His arrogance style and dealings of the finance minister, even with his own party workers were not being appreciated. It has also been attributed to Drabu what he spoke was actually the line of BJP they have traditionally adopted. Obviously, against the PDP's political agenda.
But his removal, has put a question mark on BJP- PDP partnership ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections and State Assembly election in 2020. A BJP leader in Delhi who wanted to be anonymous told POWER POLITICS "Mufti's decision to sack Drabu as a "setback" to the alliance as it could widen the gap between the two parties. "He described his status as a BJP's man in PDP because he used to play an pivotal role between the Jammu and Kashmir government and the Centre over a controversial issues. Politically speaking the removal of Drabu, responsible to stitch the alliance, gives an impression as the alliance is on the brink of breakup if need arises.
On the other hand BJP is in catch 22 situation. BJP wants to keep alliance intact in all possibilities and probabilities. Because BJP does not want to change horses in midstream keeping elections in view, though knowing fully that BJP is losing its credibility in Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu province from Lakhanpur to Nowshera and Jammu city are witnessing anti-BJP demonstrations because the BJP has not come up to their expectations of people. There are several issues which have which have made people angry against BJP, which include the pro-Kashmir job and admission policy, denial of citizenship rights to the refugees from West Pakistan, failure of the BJP to tackle the issue of internally-displaced Kashmiri Hindus, settlement of illegal Bangladeshi and Rohingya immigrants in Jammu.
All is not well in PDP as well. PDP leaders have started raising voice against the coalition as it has not worked the way they expected. According to sources in PDP “corruption is on the rise and agenda of alliance is not working well. BJP commanding and controlling the government at the centre is neither paying any heed the demands of dialogue with Pakistan and the separatist leaders nor considers the state government’s proposals on developmental issues". Political scientists attribute Mehbooba Mufti action against Haseeb Drabu is to restore the ground the PDP has lost over the period with the BJP, as the political ideology doesn't go well with the people of Kashmir belonging to a particular religious community. Party sources also acknowledge that PDP has held its ground firmly and said there was no question of compromising its ideology for the sake of power. "There will be no compromise on our party ideology and we will not hesitate to call it a day (with BJP) if the situation arises," said the source.
Arch rival NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah though welcomed Mehbooba's decision but failed to take action against his party legislator Mohammad Akbar Lone who raised pro-Pakistan slogans in the Legislative Assembly when security forces were battling terrorists at the Sunjuwan. It is to be watched which way the wind will blow.