If it happens, it will be a compulsive marriage!
The recent assembly election was different in many ways. Timing and circumstance the elections were conducted in can never be defined as normal. Who imposed the elections and which party tried to get maximum political mileage out of ill-timed elections is a long story and will require enough space and time to discuss? To cut a long and pathetic story of political greed and indifference towards people of Kashmir short, the outcome of the elections turned out to be more different than the usual. A hung assembly, with stake holders poles apart from each other almost on all fronts! A mess of political and ideological differences and a mountainous ego high on everyone’s mind is what brands the result very unusual.
Twelfth Assembly is a hung house with two larger political blocks PDP and BJP and two smaller chunks NC and INC each with its own political interest and ideology. Within the present form of assembly and existing political situation, deciding an alliance and cobbling a coalition is not only hectic but tough for every political stake holder. Any alliance within the prevailing circumstances not only requires compromise with the political stand, but some deviation from the ideology as well. Particularly, for parties like PDP and BJP having diverse character, deciding an alliance require more than compromises—a huge sacrifice both on political and ideological front. Interestingly, the Congress party, once the kingmaker for more than a decade has been decimated to the level of irrelevance and National Conference in the words of its own working president has managed a face saving position in recently concluded elections. In such a situation PDP as single largest party has the first right to decide and choose a coalition partner. An alliance with NC or INC individually having 15 and 12 members respectively does not get the PDP anywhere near the magic number of 44 making it dependent on unpredictable and hawkish independents. And a grand alliance of PDP, NC and INC as proposed by some Congress leaders will be nothing more than political heterogeneity blended with ego, long lasted acrimony and extreme levels of self-interest, where there will be very less scope for people’s interests.
Voting pattern both in Jammu and Kashmir province was diverse—a blend of regional and sociopolitical divide with pinches of communal split. However, this division can now be handled with political maturity and farsightedness. People of Jammu and Kashmir are not that antagonised to each other as portrayed by the politicians, but it is the political maneuvering and exploitation that makes the situation worse. During recent elections every political party one way or the other (with varying levels) used acrimonious tactics to garner vote and support and no political outfit can be absolved of this evil design. Political impasse in the state has reached to a level where several permutations and combinations are in the pipeline with very little consideration to stability and interests of common man; only power getting high on every politicians mind. At present the most talked about combination, that of PDP and BJP in any case cannot be politically and ideologically identical, but, yes, it not only illustrates the right arithmetic within the prevailing situation, but is the most appropriate proposition to handle people’s aspirations of two regions with diverse but overwhelming mandate. The alliance against the wishes of political leadership of both PDP and BJP is a compulsion arising out of people’s split verdict. The major constraints and glitches in forging this alliance, fate of Article 370, AFSPA and the agenda of BJP and its allies at national level cannot be sorted out in one stroke but if BJP wants to respect the mandate of people of Jammu and Kashmir then it has to submit and accommodate the verdict of Kashmiri people and treat people of both regions on either side of Jawahar tunnel only as people not fodder for divisive political canons. Same principle applies to other faction of projected alliance—PDP. PDP, BJP coalition can be termed as rarest of rare alliances in given circumstances and its smooth working will depend on the political wisdom of its leadership.
Surely, this compulsive marriage of political inconvenience cannot go well with the political cadre of both political parties, but at the end it will be the only viable alternative to existing fractured mandate