'Jo kutch manga, sab kutch dai diya; kabee naumaid naheyn kiya Modi Jee nay'( Whatever we asked got, Modi Jee never disappointed us), Mehbooba Mufti stood up praising the prime minister of India when the latter visited Srinagar three weeks before. That was when she was in power. After fawning on the BJP and holding on to it all these years, the sudden decision of the Hindu nationalist party to break the alliance has left its alliance partner wriggle in shock and bewilderment. For Mehbooba Mufti reconciliation to the changed scenario, after she and her father facilitated BJP's entry and rule in Kashmir, must be bitterly agonizing. After all, they had put all their eggs in the saffron basket, claiming they had developed a 'personal chemistry' with the 'most powerful person in India'. And to rub more salt in her wounds, the decision to walk out of the alliance had the broader sanction of the Delhi government headed by the powerful man.
The alliance between two parties, with fundamentally contrasting ideology and different political positions on Kashmir, certainly was stimulated by political opportunism. But from the day one the Hindutva party hammered its patriarchal dominance on its partner. Be it release of political prisoners, talks with Hurriyat or Pakistan, return of power projects, minimizing foot-prints of security forces, respecting state flag, participating state functions like Martyr's Day, the barrage of insults inflicted on PDP at the hands of the BJP was all damning . The ' Agenda of Alliance' that was claimed to connect 'north pole' with the 'south pole' just proved another eye-wash in a series of political deception in the long chequered history of political relations with India. And when it tore apart, the party flouting 'regional aspirations' as its halo, has no straw to clutch at. It is constricted even of a mourning space. There is no one to lend ears to its catharsis.
The BJP, on the other hand, is rejoicing. Only four days after it delivered parting blow at her partner, BJP's leader Amit Shah kick started election campaign from the Jammu region, targeting PDP and other pro-Indian parties like NC and Congress. How much substance was there in Shah's vitriolic attack on the party BJP shared power with, leave it aside (it needs separate anatomy), the fact of the matter is BJP did show it cannot afford disconnect with the constituency it got tremendous electoral support from. And as it feared it was in the danger of slackening of trust, it revisited its balance sheet and pulled out of the alliance. With parliament election less than a year away, it decided to pull the plug on the coalition government. Every party strategizes on how to make best of the opportunities staring at her. Giving the devil its due, BJP made a political move in the hope of salvaging its position in Jammu and use it for wider election campaign at national level. The biggest political loser—even a kindergarten child will pronounce—being the Mehbooba Mufti and her party. A slew of opportunities knocked at the door of PDP where it could have done what BJP did to her. Had it availed of these, it could have retrieved its image it eroded in allying with the party that sucks from the udder of RSS. Tasaduq Mufti gave the clarion call to pause and reflect but not only was silenced, he adapted to, what we in Kashmiri say, ' Ganz nass'( stinky smell). Political fortunes power fetches acted as a strong sedative preventing any sort of rethinking.
There was not even a trifle empathy for PDP as BJP took the rug under her feet, rather feeling of redemption prevailed the atmospherics . Plunged to the fathomless depth of political isolation, Mufti clan and their spin doctors knew the reason but hunger for political power salivated them to embrace the very forces they sought votes against. After warning people against BJP communal sports, Mehbooba said in 2014 election campaign 'there was nothing common' between the two parties, but soon PDP leadership cried from the roof tops that there was everything common it can take pride of. Moving away from its entrenched position it rejoiced hugging a slippery pole. The veneer of soft-separatism, Mehbooba has put up, cracked to prove herself more Indian than Rajnath Singh (Remember her press conference some years back with Rajnath in Srinagar). She first used green cloth to lure people into its fold and then as a shroud to bury them dead. The all-blooming teenagers deserved nothing but special 'toffees' from the bunkers, she growled in 2016. The new 'epidemic of dead eyes' did not affect her for she wore dark glasses!
Had PDP—this holds true for the Abdullah's NC as well—remained truthful to its commitment and respected the mandate of the people, it would have reclined on its support base, especially in South Kashmir. But guilty conscious it is afraid of the eye contact. It has nothing save betrayal and deceit in its account. Neither she nor her elected legislators can summon courage to visit their constituencies. The fear of run-in with the angry new-age generation –educated and politically conscious—cocoons them in their burrows. Still the wax eloquence on their 'representative character'!
Soon after forced to resign, Mehbooba Mufti cautioned New Delhi that ' no muscular policy will work in J&K' and ' state cannot be treated as enemy territory'( GK, 20 June). As if people here have lost sense of thinking, seeing and hearing, and sunk in amnesia. The new avatar she is appearing in cannot seduce people into forgetfulness. Only to remind her, she presided over what she is complaining at now.