The break-up of the PDP-BJP coalition in Jammu and Kashmir sparked celebrations in parts of the Valley, even as some people expressed apprehension that Governor’s rule might lead to lack of transparency and worsen the situation in the state. The BJP pulled out of the alliance with the PDP on Tuesday, following which Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tendered her resignation. Governor’s rule was imposed in the state on Wednesday morning.
In several areas of Kashmir, including Srinagar, Kupwara, and Pahalgam, people burst firecrackers after the news broke out. “This alliance was unholy. The PDP should not have joined hands with the BJP in the first place. But better late than never. We are happy that this alliance has ended,” Faizan Mir, a resident of Srinagar, said.
Mudassir Nazir, a businessman, described the PDP-BJP alliance as a coalition of north and south poles as their ideologies are in stark contrast. “Their ideologies are totally opposite. The BJP has its own interests and does not care about the people of Kashmir. They were totally opposite to what PDP stands for and hence, the people were suffering,” he said.
The businessman also accused the coalition government of being corrupt and hoped for a clean and transparent administration under Governor N N Vohra. “There would be no ministers now and no lust for power or money. I am sure the Governor will be able to give a clean, transparent and corruption-free administration. We have seen this in the past,” he said.
The celebrations over the end of the alliance were reported from south Kashmir — the PDP’s bastion — as well. Speaking over phone from Pahalgam, Hameed-ullah Wani, a PDP supporter, said the people wanted to get rid of the alliance right from day one. “We never appreciated the PDP for joining hands with the BJP. This was their biggest blunder and they will pay for it. We are happy that it is over as this alliance caused agony and suffering to the people of the state, especially in the Valley.
“However, it would have been better if the PDP would have ditched the BJP rather than what happened,” he said.
However, some people felt that an elected government was any day better than the Governor’s rule. “A democratically elected government is much better any day than the Governor’s rule which essentially means New Delhi’s direct rule in the state where now they will have absolute control over the administration and the security apparatus. They can do anything now in the absence of a government which otherwise could built pressure on them on certain issues,” Feroz Ahmad Bhat, a resident of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal said. Bhat’s views were echoed by Sheikh Tanveer, a resident of uptown Srinagar.
Tanveer said when a government is in place, people can take their grievances to their representatives and hold them accountable, which is not the case in Governor’s rule. “Whether you like it or not, you cannot do anything about it (Governor’s rule). That is the major difference. You can hold the government responsible, your representatives and ministers are reachable and they listen to you because they have a constituency which the Governor does not have,” he said.
Tanveer said it would have been better if the regional parties – the PDP and the National Conference – would come together with the support of the Congress to cobble up a coalition government. “The regional party government acts as a buffer in states like Jammu and Kashmir. I wish the PDP and the NC would have come together rather than having this unholy coalition or the Governor’s rule,” he said. He expressed apprehensions over the situation worsening in the days to come.
“I think it (situation) will worsen. There was some calm because of the ceasefire and then the government had some control over how to deal with the situation. Now, the forces will have a free hand,” he said. The Governor’s rule, which has been imposed in Jammu and Kashmir for the eighth time, was necessitated in the state after chief minister Mehbooba resigned yesterday following BJP pulling out from the over three-year-old coalition.
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