No time for cherry-picking

No time for  cherry-picking

This is the time when things should get clearer than before

It is not every day  that Jammu and Kashmir  finds itself in as much  positive spotlight as is the case today. The narrative is  focused on  having a viable government. After a series of hiccups, both PDP and BJP have admitted that they were engaged in talks.

This engagement   would lead  to the government formation. The two are much more closer in cementing the next governing alliance than they   were admitting  it in public.

The point here is not  when the two would formally announce  their  political marriage, nor it is that on which issues have they agreed or disagreed. But, what they have agreed is sufficient to stir hope  among the people that  they would be  governing  for the welfare  of the people. Time alone will tell, whether the two would  stick to their  word of providing good governance or not. This question is there    because  quite often  this thesis gets lost in  issues and counter-issues, which  have the rhetorical value  only..

Certain realities will have to be accepted  and broadcast to the world – the state recorded the best ever  voter  turnout  of 66 per cent in decades. The world  not only  knows this and the  underlined meaning  in it as well.  In  2008, when the voters voted for “ sadak, bijli pani” ( roads, electricity and water), the reality was that these issues were a convenient cover to their intense desire to  vote  for the continuity of democracy.

They never wanted the state to fall back onto the days of 1989, when the scene was dismal  with just 2 per cent of voting percentage in the parliamentary polls.  Ironically, the  period in the 1990s  was  both of hope and despair. The hope  turned into a disappointment when the violence became too much to bear. There were four guns that had come to harass the  people, militants’, security forces’,  counter –insurgents and  that of the private militias.  It was because that  the all  sorts of vote had to vote till 1996. 

The 2014 polls were better  than all the previous elections held since 1996, in terms of voting percentage, which is the greatest thing in elections. The participation of voters  makes elections success. This time, the regret of the parties is that the verdict  was badly fractured. The parties started blaming the  fractured mandate, as no  party of consequence got the  right  numbers  or close to  those in the House of 87 that could have enabled them to form the government.

Why accuse the voters of giving this kind of messy verdict? The parties should do an introspection  on the kind of campaign they  ran during the elections, it was a polarized one  on the religious and regional and sub regional lines, to put it mildly. They could not have accepted better results. The results were  rooted in the campaign and the themes that tempered that. 

Whether this verdict is taken as a challenge  or an opportunity, this depends upon the  way  parties look at the polls  and results.  But what  they cannot do is to dismiss such a beautiful  turnout. And, if they  do so, then  they would be doing disservice to the democracy  for which the votes were sought. That would be a bad omen for the  democracy and the trust that the voters have reposed  in their elected representatives

Here’s a quick summary:  the parties know that  after having come  this far, the only option before them  is to come up with a government sooner than later. Then get onto their task of giving the people what they want most, delivery  on the promises that take care of the peoples of all the regions,  with varying religious affiliations and  ethnic  identities..

Other things can wait. In politics, no time table can be set. Politics is the art of future, elections are fought for  governing for the future not for the day when the polling is held. For some issues, the   things cannot be kept on hold for ever. It takes time  for  fruits to ripe..   The desire to settle decades –old issues overnight may derail the  fundamentals of democracy  that, in reality, took roots in 2002. The 1996 elections were manipulated. The world is watching. And those who have indulged in cherry picking should know that they are also part of the system unless they have decided to sit outside of it.

There is a  space for all  the parties and leaders to  shoulder their responsibilities. Of course, the greater responsibility lies with the parties that will  form the government with a stated objective of  delivering on the  promises  made by them to the people during the elections.  The would be government  parties would have to do something more than mere govern the state. This is a call for   them in reaching out to all sections of  society and forget the political bitterness that had spoiled their personal and  political relationship. The ruling parties have to display  magnanimity and take the opposition criticism in  their stride because this is a unique situation in which the two  parties, rooted in two different, rather opposite ideologies, are expected to   come to power in  the next few days.


This kind of  alliance is bound to evoke  sharp criticism from various quarters, especially the opposition. It appears that the erstwhile ruling National Conference and  Congress, who together form 27 seats in the House, would be chastising PDP and BJP  for compromising their ideologies for the sake of power. This criticism has already started surfacing in the political spectrum and leading this political battle even before the government has come into being is former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah through his  account  on Twitter that has more than 789,000  followers. He has already posed a series of questions. As a leader  in the opposition now, he has the right to ask these questions and the  parties in the  yet to be formed the government should  be ready with the answers, because the  people across the country would also like  to know that what made the parties to come together, whether it was glue of power that  served as  a magnet  or there was something else  in the brew of power.

Things should become clearer after the Common Minimum Programme is out. A wait for that’s worthwhile.