Sayeed, the real test is ahead!
thing conundrums most observers, who keep an eye on the turn of
events in Kashmir. How is Mufti Sayeed able to accomplish the
impossible, when it comes to dealing with the Deputy Prime Minister,
L K Advani. Take for instance, the release of pro-Pakistan
separatist leader, Syed Shah Gilani.
New Delhi had made
it amply clear in the past that no mercy shall be shown to Gilani,
who had once described militancy in Kashmir as a ‘holy war’. No
doubt his poor state of health was what eventually facilitated his
release on parole, but then, believe it or not, it required a lot of
persuasion on part of Mufti Sayeed to bring round Advani to ‘green
signal’ his release on parole.
If the last 100
days of Sayeed’s government is any indication, the CM has had a
smooth sailing, with the C.M having his say on most of policy
matters. Whether it was his decision to do away with POTA, or his
contentious decision to disband the Special Operations Group, he has
faced little or no resistance from any quarter whatsoever, not even
the main opposition party, National Conference.
Moreover, to make
things further trouble-free for his government, there have been no
major militant related incidents (except for the attack on the
Raghunath temple), which could have put him on the back-foot, in
particular vis-à-vis New Delhi. The present let-up in militant
related violence has more to do with the winter months, when the
level of infiltration dwindles rapidly, affecting their overall
operations in the state.
Come spring, and
the degree of infiltration will show an upsurge, and would
indubitably upshot in an increase in militant related bloodshed in
the state. The melting of snow also does provide militants safe
havens in the higher ridges of the Pir Panchal range, which during
the winter months is out-of-the-way, due to extreme inclement
That would be the
period of time, when the PDP-Congress combine would be tested to the
hilt. One major incident, and it can snow-ball into a major issue at
the national level. Don’t forget that elections to over
half-a-dozen states would be around the corner. Furthermore, any
major incidents in J&K, are surely going to be used as a vital
ingredient by BJP (indirectly through Sangh Parivar outfits) for its
renewed nationalism mantra.
In such state of
affairs, whatever conciliatory gesticulations, New Delhi has shown
towards the new regime, would for sure turn into hard-line postures,
which without qualm is going to make things knotty for Mufti Sayeed
and company. With little or no support from the Centre, it is going
to be rough days ahead for the coalition combine in the state.
If indications that
are up-and-coming from the corridors of power in New Delhi are any
sign, a large segment of the BJP is in opposition to holding any
dialogue with the separatists elements in the Valley, at this stage,
lest they point out that such a conciliation would deprive the party
of using a tactical weapon against the Congress party, which would
be battling out the BJP in some crucial states.
BJP, on its part is
leaving no stone unturned to corner the Congress party, and thus,
should the need arise, is surely going to charge the Congress of
adopting soft-line towards militancy in J&K. One section within
the ruling party at the Centre, however wants to make use of
‘Kashmir issue’ only as a last route, that is, if
anti-incumbency, issues of good governance, and other local issues,
are not seen making the necessary impact for BJP.
Sayeed is well
aware of this dangerous situation, which is evident from the fact
that he has time and again said that the situation in Kashmir should
not be made an election issue. Sayeed, reliable sources have
confirmed, could not make much headway with Advani on the issue of
proposed talks with the separatist bandwagon, and also the elected
representatives on the legislature. Advani, it is widely believed,
seems to have second thoughts on the issue, with stakes high for the
BJP in the forthcoming assembly elections.
session of the J&K state legislative assembly would be an
interesting one, and it remains to be seen what position the main
opposition party, National Conference is going to adopt toward the
ruling combine. Should National Conference launch an all-out attack
on the ruling combine for some of its conciliatory gestures towards
the cessationist elements, which is perceived in some quarters
because of a tacit understanding between Sayeed and some of the
separatist organisations, it could set the pitch right for the BJP
to take-up the issue, and use it against the Congress in the
Given that BJP has
tasted success in the state elections in Gujarat on its new mantra
of Pakistan bashing, and extreme posturing on terrorism, it is more
than likely that Sayeed is going to come under fire from BJP for
some of his controversial decisions, which have not gone down well
with RSS, and more specifically VHP.
Should there be an
escalation of militant related violence in Kashmir in the coming
months, which is more than likely, we might just see an element of
antagonism creeping in the relations between PDP-Congress
government, and the BJP-led government in New Delhi. National
Conference, which is a part of the National Democratic Alliance,
despite having highs and lows in its relations with its alliance
partner, BJP is crucial in its strategy to corner Congress.
disparagement of Farooq Abdullah towards the Congress party might
just entice National Conference to launch a scathing attack on the
PDP-Congress combine in the up-coming J&K assembly session,
which would serve as a fodder for the BJP, should they decide to
make use of ‘Kashmir issue’ in the assembly elections.
Sayeed Sahib, when
winter is around, spring is not far behind, and I can bet my bottom
rupee, it is not going to a pleasant one!