An open letter to Mehbooba Mufti

Now that you are about to take charge, you have some grave issue to address!

After more than two months of being in denial mode you are about to take charge of state government as its first woman Chief Minister. We all know you are under tremendous pressure both at your own party and coalition level. Particularly, after the sad demise of your father a political vacuum got created within the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) and you personally lost your political mentor and a loving father. Remarkably, after the demise of Mufti Sahib you managed every situation gracefully both at political and personal level. Personally, I was of the opinion that you should have taken over the administrative responsibility on the day one and dictated political terms to your alliance partners in a much comfortable and commanding position. Anyways, even your own choice of securing and strengthening your political position without power seems to have delivered to a great extent. When your late father cobbled his coalition after much haggling there were only two political possibilities, either to have BJP (Bharatiya Janta Party) on your side or go for fresh elections. The second option was practically impossible at that particular time as state mainly Kashmir valley and its people had suffered a lot due to September floods.Mehbooba Ji, You have some attributes to your benefit. You will be the first women Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir that too with a clean canvas as you have never held any administrative post prior to this assignment. This puts you on a much better situation, where, if you wish, you can deliver to the best of your ability in the best interest of people of Jammu and Kashmir. Many people, particularly your political opponents will try to make you uncomfortable by raising various irrelevant and less important political and administrative issues which they during their own period failed to address. But, it does not mean that you have no genuine issues to face and address after taking over the reins of power. There are several political and administrative issues that require your kind attention on priority. As I am not well versed with the art of politics and I don’t have the mandate to deliver sermons on politics, but surely I would like to draw your caring attention towards the administrative matters that affect the life of common-man in particular.

Poor delivery, delays in justice, nepotism, encroachments, land grab, adulteration and political victimization are few issues that have left this state in lurch. But above all the root cause of these and all other problems is the monstrous corruption, both political and administrative. Earlier corruption was prevalent only in the ‘sarkari’ establishment, but now it has spread its tentacle into the private sector and our societal system as well. We can understand that corruption cannot be eradicated overnight, but with a political will and determinative concerted efforts it can be brought down by several notches. Some of your predecessors put in their little efforts to curb corruption, but they failed on political front to restrain corruption. They were unable to persuade their political fraternity to contain this mother of all evils. Over a period of time politics and corruption in Jammu and Kashmir have become inseparable and the political patronage to corrupt is no more hidden or considered shameful. The web of corruption covering administration, politics and a section of so-called elite within the society is so well knit that it now looks like an attractive tapestry of deceit and plunder.
Mehbooba Ji, beyond monstrous corruption you have to have a look on other issues related to common-man and the lesser mortals serving the state administration. The farming community of Jammu and Kashmir is suffering from all time low economic returns on their farming operations. Agriculture is no more an attractive and sustainable economy; it is just surviving and feeding only a section of our population. Saffron fields are vanishing and saffron production dwindling. Horticulture sector is dying because of pesticide mafia. The issue of women and children who suffer at the hands of insensitive administration and overbearing social order need your immediate attention. The plight of poor and aged people, particularly in rural areas is pathetic. Majority of state’s government employees who don’t have direct access to power and political patronage, have no say in decision making and are just delivering their knowledge and expertise for the sake of their livelihood suffer at the hands of their corrupt , powerful and conceited bosses. These burning and all other issues need your immediate attention.
We know being new to administration you will face many hurdles, but we trust your able leadership you have imbibed from your father and your sincerity as a woman will overcome all this. At the end wish you ‘good great luck’ on behalf of common people of this state.