What started as a bang and great hope has ended in a great tragedy in Kashmir. The attempt to bridge Jammu with Kashmir has ended in a disaster. Today Kashmir is back to square one. The civilian life stands disrupted.
The modicum of normalcy which existed prior to 2014 lies completely shattered. Though every development in Kashmir cannot be heaped on BJP but the party is surely to be blamed for the response it came up with months after months.
Kashmir became an experiment shop for the nationalist narrative. Unnecessary debates dominated the tenure of the PDP-BJP development.
Whether it was the state flag, Article 370, Article 35(A) - unnecessary controversies dominated the tenure of the regime. The worst disservice was that Army was brought into Kashmir issue as a political agent. Indian Army’s view became another pillar in the conversation which was already suffering from political McCarthyism.
Unfortunate thing is that Army’s view was never an issue but their position on certain issues was continuously milked to attack and discredit the Opposition. It played out well for the audience in the heartland but ended up alienating average Kashmiri and adding strain on the alliance which ultimately cracked because of the inherent contradictions. Both of them were unnatural partners who were ideologically opposed and represented opposed social constituencies.
Despite unending failure at every level, BJP still thought of something unimaginable. It thought of pushing Sajad Lone as the CM face and tried to encourage defections. It pushed the narrative of 'Third Party' in a play where none existed. The push prompted political reorganisation by National Conference (NC), PDP and Congress. Whether it was fear, hard political compulsion or matter of survival, it spooked the BJP. The worst fear of BJP came into existence like wildfire. The real issue was what if 'Grand Alliance' becomes a reality in J&K? Will it have an impact on elections?
These are conjunctures, but the fact remains that the BJP’s incessant push to remain in power through backdoor created an alignment which neither of them was interested in.
There is no doubt that PDP and NC are not the best of partners, but they have more ideological similarity than what is shared between BJP and PDP. On top of it, Congress has been in alliance with both NC and PDP. So, the reason given by the Governor of horse trading and ideological divide does not hold water. It shows that BJP became nervous that if this alliance comes to power then it will add weight to the idea behind 'Grand Alliance' again.
It is, for this reason, the BJP decided to opt for the more convenient option which is President’s rule. It happened despite the fact that both NC and Congress in long run did not want to tie up with PDP which has burnt its political ground in South Kashmir.
Kashmir shows the limit of push a political party and state can exert on society. Unbridled power and hard politics divorced from political ethics can produce results like these. Indira Gandhi’s total hegemony brought everyone together. Today, BJP stands in the same total position without realising that uncontained political ambition can be self-limiting.
Accommodative politics sometimes leads to better longevity. There are many lessons and less known issues. For example, as to why Home Minister Rajnath Singh and General Secretary in charge of J&K Ram Madhav could not convince Modi-Shah duo to let Assembly survive for a few more days would be another story, but Kashmir, in the end, has come out as the real victim of national politics.
This is the tragedy with which the nation will have to deal with in the longer run. A Kashmir which is more fragile, more alienated and less safe and all cannot be blamed on the enemy across the border. Some responsibility also lies with BJP.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)