Kashmir has been brewing with political uncertainty since the death of former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7. Since then, the new government formation in the valley remains hung as the Mehbooba Mufti seems still to be in a dilemma over formation of the government. She has been saying publicly that it is not easy for her to take decisions quickly.
Mehbooba Mufti, PDP President
Mehbooba Mufti, the elder daughter of Mufti Sayeed besides being the president of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is also a big political figure in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
While the central government Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) is ready to form a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir with the PDP, there have been no positive gestures so far from the PDP president Mehbooba Mufti. The suspense over formation of a government continues in the state which has been under Governors rule for almost two months now.
After a long silence for the first few weeks, Mehbooba claimed BJP failed to fulfill the promises made at the time of Government formation last year and hence raised the bar by placing some preconditions before the BJP-led central government over government formation in the state.
Economic Steps Needed
Mehbooba wants the central government’s nod for political and economic steps that they need to take on Kashmir. She also sought full assurances and a timeframe from the Prime Minister and then from BJP President Amit Shah.
However, the BJP’s stand has not been clear on these conditions and there has been no positive response from the party high command. Neither PM Narender Modi nor Amit Shah has given any assurance to PDP and even the BJP state leadership has preferred silence in recent days.
Though the BJP initially showed keen interest in formation of a Government with Mehbooba in the chair and offered unconditional support to the PDP, now the former seems to be more comfortable with governor’s rule than civil rule. Political analysts feel is that the BJP has direct control over the state of Jammu and Kashmir under the rule of Governor and hence are more comfortable.
Public Opinion Changing
With each passing day, public opinion is changing on the ground. The people of Jammu and Kashmir did not take the decision of PDP’s coalition with BJP as the right decision as the party had contested the election on an anti-BJP manifesto. However, they still made a coalition government with BJP after forming an “Agenda of Alliance” on March 1st 2015.
Political analysts considered the decision political suicide by the PDP, whereas the BJP, which for the first time in the political history of J&K gained highest number of seats, was eager to debut as the ruling party in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly.
People Looking To Mehbooba
Now once again the people of Jammu and Kashmir are eager to know how Mehbooba is going to tackle this situation and live up to the expectations of the people, which will retain her political credentials in the state.
The people seem to be quite happy with presidential rule because they feel that the administration is working smoothly under the governor’s rule.
In recent times, Governor N N Vohra took certain decisions which created goodwill among the people of Jammu and Kashmir. One of those things was the distribution of relief for 2014 flood victims. Another was making Aadhaar based biometric attendance mandatory for government benefits and another was a major reshuffle in the civil and police administration – which are normally the prerogative of the political government.
In circumstances like these, the PDP seems to be ready to form civil Government but it is a very difficult and tricky decision for Mehbooba Mufti. To get into the coalition with BJP once again she has to scale down her demands whereas re-elections may not be the right decision for the party as they are not in a good political shape right now, according to experts.
National Conference Looms
It seems in all this political chaos that the National Conference is gaining ground once again. However, if the Centre is keen to form a Government in J&K with PDP, it will have to take some steps to win the confidence of the Peoples Democratic Party.