There are no permanent friends or foes in politics, and politics continues to be an art of the possible
How long will the Governor’s rule last in J&K is rather difficult to predict, as there are many imponderables that befog a clear cut answer to this question.
The political turf continues to be messy, uneven and unpredictable, as there are no clear alliances or permutations taking definitive shapes.
The communication channels between BJP and PDP which were open working for some time after the election results were out, did not yield desirable results perhaps. In fact these communication channels did not take the exchange of views to a decisive level.
One can say from a distance that both BJP and PDP were only testing waters, while indulging in the exercise of informal contact. In fact the situation the two parties PDP and BJP found themselves in was in a way unexpected for both these political parties.
PDP falling short of the estimated or expected 35 seats and the BJP nowhere near its mission 44, resultantly when the results were out both these parties had to face the stark reality of not being able to form a government on their own, without the support of other parties, or others.
BJP tried it with NC and with PDP, what happened to the BJP’s contact with NC, little is known in this behalf, while as with PDP one can only guess from a distance that the preconditions of PDP for forging an alliance with BJP might have been difficult for BJP to accept.
For instance removal of AFSPA from the state as a whole, or some parts thereof, or a moratorium on debate on Article 370 of the Constitution and no fiddling with it, must be too much for BJP to digest or agree upon.
Similarly addressing the internal dimensions of the Kashmir Problem, which means holding talks with separatists of all hues, and dialogue with Pakistan; for if the BJP concedes or accepts all these conditions then it would mean bending backwards as for BJP is concerned.
The big question is, can the BJP give up their professed policy with regard to Article 370 and can they afford to debate AFSPA and can they initiate dialogue with Pakistan for resolving all bilateral issues including Kashmir.
All this seems really impossible for BJP to embark upon for various reasons; one of the most important being their hardcore Hindu constituency in the length and breadth of the country.
Can BJP disillusion their hardcore supporters in the entire country by changing its discourse on above mentioned matters for the simple reason of forging an alliance with PDP.
Are the aspirations of Jammu BJP more important than the professed policies of BJP vis-a-vis Jammu and Kashmir.
Assuming for argument’s sake that BJP decides to have an alliance with PDP In J&K, while accepting PDP’s conditions, how will the party justify this, and sell the idea to its supporters in the country, especially when Delhi is going to polls shortly.
In my understanding the BJP will not like to form a government with PDP before Delhi elections are over, as BJP will try to do nothing to give an impression to the voters in Delhi where the elections are round the corner that it has in any way softened down its stand on the issues like Article 370, AFSPA or no talks with separatists or Pakistan, because in their assessment it is this hard or rigid stand which appeals to the hardcore BJP supporters in the country and makes them a party with a difference.
Therefore, I don’t see any forward movement in parlays between BJP and PDP at least till the Delhi assembly elections are over. This way the State of Jammu and Kashmir will have to wait till at least 15th of February to see any forward movement on government formation.
May be after 15th of February BJP will demonstrate more flexibility, and realism will prevail with them. Coming to the noises made by the State Congress Committee President Saif-ud-Din Soz regarding providing support to PDP in the formation of a secular alliance, these noises made by the Committee President were misdirected and misleading in many ways.
How could Congress talk of a need to forge a secular alliance when it is during Mr. Soz’s tenure as Committee President that alliances with both parties (NC and PDP) have ended in a fiasco, leaving bitter taste in the mouth of both NC and PDP.
Having said all this, the fact remains that there are no permanent friends or foes in politics, and politics continues to be an art of the possible.
The author is Advocate, J&K High Court, Srinagar