When J-K Chief Minist Mufti Mohammad Sayeed came to power in an alliance with BJP, he called the coalition “meeting of north pole and south pole”.
Mufti equated the alliance with BJP as the meeting of two opposite poles because he knew how difficult it was to bring together the BJP and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – the two political parties with apparently diametrically opposite viewpoints on Kashmir.
Seven months on, the two poles are yet to meet completely even as a shrewd politician like Mufti made many compromises to make this alliance work.
The coalition that has been dogged by controversy from the first day has tided-over many controversies over the past seven months and every time Mufti and his party had to compromise. But it has failed to reduce the trust deficit between the coalition partners. And it is this deficit that is having a negative impact on the governance in the state.
Mufti allied with the BJP promising a huge relief and rehabilitation package for the flood victims of 2014. In fact, the PDP leaders who favoured an alliance with the BJP argued that it is necessary to get funds from the Centre for development in the state. The funds are yet to come and the government is yet to embark on its “developmental agenda”. Many people feel that Centre has not opened the purse strings because they are still to trust Mufti fully.
Then there are a plethora of other issues — – from the release of separatist leaders to the controversy surrounding the ban on beef in the state or the attack on a legislator inside the state assembly to talks with Pakistan and separatists – that have given little time to the coalition partners to think about governance. Mufti has used all his time, energy and credibility in negotiating differences with the coalition partners.
Then again the two political parties have different priorities, regional considerations and vote banks which is making it more difficult for them to run the government.
With the two regions – Jammu and Kashmir, represented by BJP and PDP, respectively – having different political aspirations, the coalition government has been unable to make a headstart on the political front as well.
So as long as the two parties do not build trust between each other and learn to respect each other’s political aspirations and compulsions, the coalition government will fail to make any impact – on political or developmental front as well.