In the Valley of discontent, PDP’s options are all double-edged

The party’s decision to ally with BJP was an unpopular move in the valley – an acknowledgement for the first time came from the party president Mehbooba Mufti as well.

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar | Published: February 1, 2016 2:46:17 pm
jammu and kashmir, pdp, bjp, pdp bjp alliance, mehbooba mufti, J&K govt formation, J&K new govt, J&K news, india news, latest news Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti along with party senior Vice-President and Member of Parliament, Muzaffar Hussain Beigh and Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister, Haseeb Drabu (R) and other senior leader during a crucial party meeting at Mufti residence in Srinagar on Sunday. (Source: PTI)

With both Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the BJP toughening their stands on the formation of government in Jammu and Kashmir, a complex situation has become even more complicated.

After a meeting of leaders and legislators on Sunday, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti said, “if the government is to be formed, the Centre has to address the core political and economic” issues of J & K. While the party has been silent over this pre-condition — it has been mulling it over during the last three weeks — this time it has put “lasting peace and prosperity of state and its people” as a pre-condition for government formation and this pre-condition has come directly from the party president.

Dialogue with Pakistan and separatists are a compulsion for the PDP and an attempt to arrest its decreasing popularity in the Kashmir valley. The party’s decision to ally with BJP was an unpopular move in the valley – an acknowledgement for the first time came from the party president Mehbooba Mufti as well – but the party took the plunge hoping that some initiatives on the political front from the central government for the resolution of Kashmir issue would help it to regain public confidence.

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However, the party feels that the Centre has not only stalled political moves but also ditched it on the developmental front by not going ahead on the power projects or the help on the rehabilitation of flood victims as was agreed upon in the “Agenda of Alliance’ drafted by the two parties before they formed the government. There are also controversial issues like Article 370, Section 35 (A) or the beef ban raised by BJP leaders, both at Centre and the state level which have dented the PDP’s image in the valley.

With these issues at the back of its mind, the PDP is hesitant to form a government without assurances from the Centre on issues that will help it to regain the voters’ confidence in the valley.

In such a scenario, there are very few options left for the PDP – and BJP– and none of them is an easy escape. If the PDP breaks its alliance with the BJP, it has to go either for the mid-term polls or join hands with the Congress to form a coalition government with the help of independent legislators. In such a possibility, the Congress-PDP combine would not only have to rope in the independent legislators but also the Peoples Conference of Sajad Lone. A possible PDP-Congress government, will be at the mercy of the whims and fancies of independent legislators – some of whom are very undependable.

The option of mid-term polls too is not a good one for the party. The party’s popularity at this point of time is at its lowest and going back to people doesn’t seem a viable option for many of its legislators.

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