The drama of flag hosting

Win-Win Situation For All As BJP Has The Cake

FAHEEM ASLAM

Srinagar, Jan 23: The drama over BJP's flag hoisting plan at Lal Chowk looks set to go down to wire.  And what is more, all the major political actors in it are in a win-win situation with BJP itself taking the cake.
 For BJP, the flag hoisting at Lal Chowk is immaterial. It is a well-thought plan whose entire trajectory is designed to give the party a nationally saleable issue it can build its politics around.  And Kashmir with its Muslim majority character and the unavoidable Pakistan dimension fits well into the party's political scheme of things.
 The impact is already there for all to see. BJP suddenly dominates the discourse. So much so that even the party's otherwise obscure local leaders are basking in the windfall of prominence.
 '”We will unfurl the flag, come what may,” the BJP's J&K vice-president Sofi Yusuf told Greater Kashmir. He said the event will be made a success by the party's Kashmir activists. “Even though, government has launched a crackdown against us, we will go ahead with our mission.”
 JKLF's decision to defy BJP and unfurl its own flag on January 26 has given the outfit a major space in the evolving discourse over the flag hoisting. It is in a long time that JKLF supremo Yasin Malik has chosen to throw down gauntlet to a national party which is bound to give JKLF and its independence agenda a national and international publicity. Plus, in Valley itself JKLF's position has already been shored up with people seeing it as the party who is standing up to a communally oriented right-wing BJP.
 In fact, there is an old connection between BJP's flag hoisting itch and the JKLF. It goes back nineteen years. It was in 1992 when JKLF - Malik then its all-powerful chief commander - had made it difficult for the then BJP president Murli Manohar Joshi to raise flag on the clock-tower at Lal Chowk.
Joshi managed to do it with few supporters in attendance and amid an unprecedented security.
 Similarly, in putting up a resistance to BJP, the ruling National Conference similarly stands to benefit. For, Chief Minister Omer Abdullah, the decision to close J&K's borders to BJP yatris invokes a piece of family history. 
 His grandfather Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah had imprisoned Sangh idealogue  Shyama Prasad Mukherjee in 1948 when he entered J&K without proper official permission.   Mukherjee subsequently died in jail.
 Moreover, Omer will be seen as standing up to BJP which with its Babri and Gujarat baggage and generally anti-Muslim agenda is usually viewed with deep skepticism in Valley. What is more important, however, is that Omer's tough stance on the issue is competing with the separatist narrative which for the better part of last year dominated the scene.
 Even though, the state government has since regained some measure of control, NC as a political party has still some catching up to do. And BJP has provided it an opportunity to do so.
 There will be of course some losers too, like Congress at the national level and the PDP in Valley. The political bounty of the BJP's flag plan offers them little chance to benefit. The Congress is more woefully situated. Being party to Omer's decision to stop the yatra, Congress runs the risk of alienating a substantial Hindu constituency across the country. And this is all the more reason for BJP to laugh all the way to the bank.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 23 Jan 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 23 Jan 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 24 Jan 2011 00:00:00 IST




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