Languishing Governance

What we need is an enlightenment on all counts

Dr. Abdul Majid Siraj
Srinagar, Publish Date: Nov 18 2018 11:23PM | Updated Date: Nov 18 2018 11:23PM
Languishing Governance

Jammu & Kashmir has been relegated to a pending file in normal governance of the subcontinent. It has its shelf-life on a declining curve held tethered with a fine string to Indian Constitution viable with the help of the central government. The last coalition came to animated life after a great effort between two political parties.   They found common ground on the basis of revival of existing development projects and making new schemes as target evenly distributed between provinces.  Nothing came to even a starting point.  On political front talks on Kashmir was the linchpin of manifesto for PDP and met the same fate.   That was the complexion of total life span.  

The last Assembly passed through its beaten path of Governor’s scrutiny and was sliding into suspended animation. The hope was a consensus will re-appear that can form a government. A mirage perceived that Governor’s rule will have a candid approval from societal managers and all those who want functional governance for survival.  In the end using section 53 of the state constitution the assembly breathed its last anticipating the President of India will take over after six months and use powers to continue suspended animation or dissolve the assembly after taking prior consent from the parliament.  A lateral discourse on beaten tract of governance takes us in the critique of Delhi’s handling of this turbulence. The presumption that Delhi made mistakes is reinforces repeatedly by the new Governor Satyapal Malik  cannot be analyzed in its content but the fallout in governance is not guesswork. He asserted PMDP projects never took off preventing floods, Ravi river development, flyovers, highway upgrading and most important saving water bodies, Dal,  Wular etc.  Some very basic services like drinking water supply have not been executed.  The funds he said are available. Urbanization caused disappearance of wetlands like Hokarsar, Anchar lake, Gilsar etc and encroachments changed the hydrology of rivers. On the electricity front Restructured Accelerated Power development programs are in conceptual stage witnessing Transmission (T&D) losses.  For example Mirbagh Ratnipora has only occasionally a lamp shining light.

In the meantime J&K is in a political limbo like never before.  One stark challenge that faces them is the benchmark of upsurge of militancy place on every government for face saving before Indian public.They openly help elected members of the assembly share weariness and dissension to step in for political power.  In new elections the historical burden of the last performance will be an encumbrance to elicit consensual approval from any fragment of society. Any compliant member of the society is held in reverence and even a proven beneficial manager of traffic policing like the last IGP Basant Rath was made a scapegoat to succor a tenuous presence in political province of Kashmir.  It is common knowledge that corruption is rampant in all spheres of governance, we now contemplate to take a stock of existing assets officers have.  Governor will end his rule on Dec 19 of the year making way for the Presidents rule.  The fallout of this irresolute scheme of governance will forecast unfinished projects, uncertainty in all areas of governance.

The forecast therefore to reform a future democratic government for J&K is gloomy. The president of India may end suspended animation by a declaration to hold new elections. It is hard to imagine how the present contenders can approach the electorate to vote for them because that will necessitate revival of an account of their previous performance when they last held office. That may not be palatable to voters.  The fact still remains how long will suspended animation remain in force, especially with the escalating turmoil surging and requiring a high degree of control mechanisms. Mr. Modi has confidence in his appointee Mr. Dineshwar Sharma to use interlocutory proficiency and keep contact with political spectrum across hard core population of Jammu & Kashmir. Mr. Modi drives the urge to form a parliamentary government aware of the fact that non-existent local government will be a deterrent to security operations.  

In a situation like this it is amazing why the incumbent political stalwarts now on the fringes are not horse trading to associate in government formation but tearing each other apart with criticism and antithetical conduct of relationship. It is hard to imagine how they can sit together and run a government. In this scenario how much governance deficit will emerge and at what cost to public good?  One way I imagine will be to assemble behind a slogan to exhort the central government to move away from intransigence on Kashmir and open a dialogue without any preconditions.  That will emerge in a consensus and people will get confidence in political process.

Governor Malik offers political space to the young militants who join resistance movement to come and speak. He offers them understanding, food and pardon. The governor has to take another step and tell them to offer dialogue and explain why they feel deprived of justice and victims of perfidy. They will need to explain why it is they want to be martyrs for a way to paradise and not enjoy the paradise they are living in now. The answers lies in an enlightenment which is much needed in Kashmir.

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