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CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

 

ARTICLE
BASHIR ASSAD | 29 JUNE, 2015

MAJORITARIAN CHARACTER IN COALITION GOVERNMENT: THE BETS ARE OFF

As the PDP-BJP coalition government completed 100 days in office, dissatisfaction among the people poses a threat to Mufti Sayeed’s credibility. Anti PDP-BJP sentiments have begun to go high not only because of the inherent contradictions within the coalition government but essentially because in the given time it has not been able to deliver on its promises. Right-wing politics has befooled Mufti so much that even PDP legislators and leaders are finding it difficult to shrug off the embarrassment. People believe that the majoritarian politics of the right-wing has taken PDP for a ride in Jammu and Kashmir. And it is this majoritarian agenda of BJP that Mufti is facing severe credibility crises.

How a strong political leader like Mufti turns weak overnight is a million dollar question that seems to baffle the minds in Kashmir.

Those who had opposed PDP-BJP alliance stand vindicated – at least for now. However, we should try to find out how and why Mufti’s image of being a strong political leader and that of being good administrator, has been dented in such a short span of time.

There is a belief that nobody in Kashmir is weak or strong but Delhi makes him so. Here I want to make an interesting point that might help in analyzing Mufti’s second stint. Coalition era began in Jammu and Kashmir in 2002 when Mufti formed the government in alliance with Congress party. Though NDA-I was in office at Centre for the first two years of Mufti government, however, Atal Behari Vajpayee was conscious of the fragile atmosphere prevailing in the state. On the other hand the Congress party with its Centralist credentials put its weight behind Mufti more than that of its state unit. These two factors, according to me, contributed enormously in Mufti’s growth as a strong politician and a good administrator. Same was true about Omar Abdullah who went along nicely with the centralist Congress and completed full six years term in office even though he could not prove himself a better chief minister. For both PDP and NC it was easier to go along with Congress in the sensitive state of Jammu and Kashmir. But for the BJP to do what the Congress had done in the state is not possible, for the saffron party has a majoritarian character. And given this impediment Mufti cannot consolidate his position. At the same time BJP cannot shed its ultra tag, more so because it is insensitive to the sensitivities involved in Kashmir politics. Even if it realizes, BJP cannot really adopt a centrist approach in its day-to-day politics.  And this impediment turns into a major threat once the party tries to move beyond the Hindu mainland. And given PM Narendra Modi’s background and support for right-wing the BJP cannot present itself in a new form.

This article has appeared in the Rising Kashmir.

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