What do we need conviction for?
‘Mufti, Mehbooba should allay with BJP out of conviction, not compulsion’ is the latest salvo fired by senior PDP leader and Member of Parliament, Muzafar Hussain Baig (GK 2nd February). It comes a day after he stirred a controversy over the status of West Pakistan Refugees which evoked sharp reactions from the political spectrum across the valley. Though Baig has attempted to mellow down his position in a bid to checkmate the growing opposition on the issue, the PDP has, in a possible damage control measure, distanced itself from what he has said.
The differences from within the PDP have thus come to the fore. Not merely on the issue of refugee, but beyond that. Mr. Baig has now stated that for the emerging relationship between the PDP and the BJP, there should be conviction among the decision makers of PDP. He has blatantly gone on record to say that in the party all decisions are taken by Mufti Muhammad Sayed and his daughter and the Party President, Mehbooba Mufti. He statement in this behalf needs to be marked: “As far as formation of Government with BJP is concerned, I want to state that Mufti Saheb and Mehbooba Ji, who are the only two decision makers in the party, should forge such an alliance out of conviction and not out of compulsion.”
Mr. Baig goes on adding : “ if they are convinced that such an alliance will be in the interests of the State, politically and economically, they should go ahead.” His go-ahead suggestion is not that simple; he conditions it very cleverly saying: “The political issues would necessarily involve an agreement on the process to resolve Kashmir issue in a democratic and constitutional manner through the process of dialogue.”
A note of caution is now on sounded by him in further part of his statement. It says: “If PDP and BJP can not agree on fundamental issues, then it is better to sit in opposition or go back to the people rather than enter into mere power sharing agreement which will be seen by people and judged by history as an act of opportunism.”
What has thus been said by Mr. Baig has its immense significance as the BJP-PDP agreement on government formation is reportedly close to being finalised and the government formation now days-away. The inherent political fall outs in this formation were marked by all and sundry at the beginning itself but every advice rendered to prevent it seemed falling on deaf ears in PDP. Mr. Beg was himself one of the strong votaries for this power sharing relationship between the BJP and PDP. Now fearing the possible political reprisal, he attempts at a clever U-turn.
Let’s dispassionately analyse what he has attempted at scoring from his latest averments. In asking for conviction than compulsion as being needed for a relationship with the BJP, one wonders: what conviction is Mr. Baig talking about? Conviction and compulsions are so closely intertwined in this political game being hoisted on the people of Kashmir that neither can be divorced from the other. Compulsion for the Muftis is to come to power, and in this compulsion is their undenying conviction. By whatever means it comes into being, they are pursuing it with their their herd behind them, deaf and dumb. What the Muftis want is to replicate with BJP the Farooq-Omar Model that gave Farooq a berth in the Union Ministry in return for a 6-year term power for his son, Omar. Muftis want a similar kind of formulation to be accepted by the BJP with a change that it may be daughter at the Centre and the father in the State.
Power in the State, no doubt could have come to Muftis in the State otherwise also had it availed of Congress support at the earliest. But, they had other things up their sleeves in turning down that offer, and that was grabbing power “here as well as there”. In this lie their unwavering commitment and conviction and not elsewhere ! So, Mr. Baig should not attempt at drawing any line in between the two.
On resolution of political issues politically, one wonders of which issues is Mr. Baig talking of? PDP has no political issue on Kashmir other than that of its Self-Rule proposal. Is it expected to seek a push on it from the BJP, I shudder thinking that that is what BJP can not politically afford . It is already facing heat from its cadres on putting the demand for the withdrawal of Article 370 on back burner. The Self Rule proposal is what it won’t be ready to listen to forget about extending any political commitment on it even for public consumption to suit PDP in Kashmir.
The Self Rule proposal (SRP) of PDP was just an alternate to autonomy proposal of the National Conference which was given a scanty treatment by the UPA Government at the Centre even though it was armed with a support-resolution of the State legislature. The Muftis moved the SRP to score a political mileage knowing well that it will not move forward even an inch. The Muftis were well aware that neither the political parties nor the establishment at the Centre would allow any such a proposal to fructify. It was thus a mere sham, intended to play yet another political deceit on the people of the State.
In asking the PDP to chose to sit in the opposition or, in the alternative, go back to the people ( for fresh elections), it appears that Baig is tactfully wanting to distance from the negative fall outs of emerging relationship between BJP and the PDP. His statement that all decisions within the party are taken by the father and the son, exposes the myth of inner- party democracy within PDP.
Mr. Baig’s statements must have indeed made the Muftis quite uncomfortable because these herald coming to the fore of disillusionment among party cadres over the handling of PDP’s affairs. Going back to the people will not be as simple a task for the party leadership now as the “acts of political opportunism” on the part of Muftis has widely been now realised. In fact a good chunk of people who voted for the party are regretting their decision.