And if things go
wrong for the party in so many states, what will be its fate in the
Lok Sabha elections in 2004? Premature perhaps but these thoughts
must worry the party faithfuls. Be that as it may, there are other
questions the J&K elections have thrown up that transcend the
fate of the BJP, questions that concern national integrity and
security and must, therefore, concern the Government of India.At the
base of these questions is the exit of the fundamentally
proaccession National Conference, and the spectacular emergence of
the new outfit called People's Democratic Party led by the former
Congress stalwart in the state, Mufti Muhammed Sayeed who later
became Home Minister in the anti-Congress V.P.Singh government which
included the BJP. In his present political incarnation, Mufti Sayeed
is not only ideologically anti-BJP but, in terms of his party's poll
platform, ideationally hovering somewhere in between the pro-India
and the Hurriyat mindsets in the state.
post-election abacus, it was immediately assumed that the PDP and
Congress would join hands, lure the requisite number of independent
and fringe groups like the Panthers party, and form the government.
At the time of writing, however, this likely permutation and
combination has run into hurdles, chiefly but not entirely on the
question of chief ministership.There are indications that even the
National Conference, which had proclaimed after the poll results
that it would sit in the opposition, is back in the fray.
How the situation
will untangle, if at all, should be clear in a day or two, but
whichever way the dice finally falls, it will be a dicey situation.
Even if a coalition is cobbled before the Constitutional deadline by
giving, as per the current coalition dharma(!), ministerial berths
to all the cohabitating MLAs, the underlying politics of opportunism
is sooner or later likely to set in motion the nationally familiar
perambulations (of Aaya Rams and Gaya Mohammads) in this state as
well.As things stand, however, chances are that the state will come
under Governor's rule. What an inexquisite irony that will be after
the enthusiastic polls.
Long before the
first vote was cast in this high-visibility election I wrote:
"Far from settling anything for the better in the state, the
election and its outcome are likely to make the already muddy waters
of the Jhelum and the Ravi muddier still and, given the devilish
neighbour we have, bloodier too." Sadly, I have been proved
right on both counts.
In terms of stable
politics, to borrow from the American singer Harry Belafonte, the
situation is "as clear as mud". As for blood and terror,
800 Indians, nearly 200 of them security personnel, have been killed
in the state in the last two months. When our leaders glibly talk
about victory of ballot over bullet, instead of parroting the
rhetoric, we should ask them to say it before these 800 families!
Rubbing salt over
the wounds is the way the West has reacted to the admittedly free
and fair elections. Far from giving the subaltern-minded Vajpayee
dispensation the much-coveted good boy certificate, far from seeing
the elections as a reflection of the Kashmiris' No to Pakistan, the
West generally and the duplicitous Americans in particular have lost
no time in urging us to hold talks with the wily dictatorial regime
in Islamabad, never mind if it continues to send its murderous
mercenaries across the border.Indeed, going by intercepts of radio
communications between the terrorists and their ISI masters, the
Indian Army expects increased terrorist attacks in the state. In
short, bloody business as usual.
tragically for the people of Kashmir, and for India, this state of
affairs will go on as long as we have political, diplomatic and
strategic pygmies at the national helm.