Mufti Sahib’s passing away seems to have set the ship of Kashmir once again adrift on an uncharted sea!
It is not for the first time that there is an uncertainty about not only the ultimate fate of this land but even about its day to day governance. This always happens when a ship is set on an uncharted course without any definite goal. Unfortunately, the leaders of all the streams do not outline a definite and a practically achievable goal. It is like a ship sailing from a port to port without an ultimate destination. Probably, the main problem in putting the ship on a definite course is the captain’s uncertainty about the ultimate goal and the delusions about the way to reach that destination. Almost all our leaders start with the declaration of achieving a place of dignity and honour for the people but end up trying to keep their own “dignity” and “honour” intact leaving the common people in the lurch. Is it because they are not sure of the ultimate goal and develop doubts about achieving that or it is because of the fatigue and tiredness of the struggle? An important question which needs to be debated.
Mufti Sahib had started his political career in the Indian National Congress but ended up by pioneering his own party the People’s Democratic Party. He had declared that Kashmir’s emancipation was possible through Indo-Pak rapprochement and for that he had propagated “self-rule”. During his first tenure he did work for and achieve a breakthrough in starting cross LOC travel and trade. However, it did not grow as expected and remained a stagnant measure. The second coming appeared a total compromise especially after propagating throughout the valley keeping out the Hindutva agenda and then virtually embracing the same. The delusion was that by aligning with the party ruling at the centre, he will at least be able to bring scour to the people devastated by the worst flood in the century. However, after getting a bear hug, he was totally let down by the other party! The meeting of the North Pole and the South Pole did not bear the fruit as was expected by him.
Now his daughter faces the same dilemma! Some people have opined that she stands at the crossroads of history. There have been umpteen rumours as well as suggestions about what she intends to do or should do. Most of these have been put forth without any body actually speaking to her! Some believe that if she ditches BJP and formulates some other combination probably with Congress, she will regain the lost popularity in the valley. On the other hand some have opined that by backing out she will get a squeeze from the Central Government in everything including massive funds needed for restoration and rehabilitation regardless of the combination she formulates. According to these commentaries she seems to be standing between the devil and the deep sea! Some have even suggested going back to the people to get a clear mandate as even good governance is always a casualty in every coalition set up.
If one analyses truly the situation of the mainstream parties, they can at best look at good governance which has been missing now for a long time. The question of the mainstream parties having any say in the ultimate solution of the basic political problem is a delusion suffered by the leaders of all these parties. They need to accept the fact that they are at the pleasure of whomsoever is at the helm in Delhi which considers Kashmir to have been settled once for and all. In these circumstances, the best bet is to let Delhi govern the state on its own through Governor’s and President’s rule. No political party can then be blamed for at least the lack of governance. On the contrary Delhi will have to undertake a massive construction and rehabilitation programme without any political interference to gain sympathy of the local people whose main interest at the moment is rehabilitation, restoration and prevention of future calamities.