Jammu walking away with Indian Institute of Management (IIM) is yet another feather in the cap of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), while its coalition partner Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which joined hands with BJP to form the government in Jammu and Kashmir with development being the agenda is grappling with number of issues. It has to do a lot to live upto the expectations of the people in Kashmir.
The ongoing unrest in Kashmir has pushed PDP away from the people and it would have to make a Herculean effort to restore its credibility and image in Kashmir, where it (PDP) had emerged as an alternative for the National Conference.
On the other hand it has been a win-win situation for BJP as it has kept it's constituency i.e. Jammu, intact and has done whatever it could do for Jammu division, from where it won 25 Assembly seats in the 2014 polls.
The BJP knows it very well that Jammu is its constituency and it has to be nurtured so that the voters who dumped Congress and other parties don't regret their decision to vote for BJP.
Jammu getting IIM triggered a sharp reaction from the former Chief Minister and National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah, who termed it as blatant partisan politics, "Jammu gets the IIT and gets the IIM also. Where have all those voices that called for balanced regional development in J-K disappeared?" Omar tweeted.
The decision to approve the IIM for Jammu is just blatant partisan politics of the kind we have come to expect from the BJP-PDP coalition, Omar said, adding no wonder so much of the state is restive today.
The present unrest has put the PDP in tight spot and Omar has got a chance to castigate it but the fact of the matter is that regional partners in Kashmir have been at the receiving end, while the national parties have had a upper hand since 2002, as it led to the beginning of coalition era in JK.
Prior to BJP it was Congress which thrived in Jammu region at the cost of National Conference and now it's BJP which is calling the shots at the cost of the PDP.
When union government sanctioned AIIMS for Kashmir, people in Jammu raised hue and cry and launched an agitation against the decision of the union government. They literally compelled the Government of India to sanction AIIMS for Jammu. People of Kashmir have no problem with Jammu getting the prestigious institutes and they expect that people of Jammu should not have any objections if Kashmir gets something.
As Kashmiris we too need to introspect why people refrain from investing in Kashmir and what are the reasons behind Kashmir not getting the prestigious projects. The Government of India (GoI) cites hundred and one reasons for depriving Kashmir of the prestigious projects and to justify the use of force in Kashmir.
The PDP and BJP formed the government in 2015 and since then PDP-BJP coalition has witnessed many ups and downs but technically the PDP-BJP coalition would complete two years in the office in March 2017. Unfortunately PDP has got nothing to brag about and cannot count its achievements as situation in Kashmir continues to be grim.
During the past few years two Super Specialty Hospitals (SSHs) have come up in Jammu but the one for Kashmir which was announced long back is yet to become functional and has missed many deadlines. On the other hand Jammu-Srinagar highway on Jammu side has witnessed massive development with Udhampur-Jammu road being turned into four lane and Chenani-Nashri tunnel almost being ready to be thrown open for the traffic. The government has cleared the cable car project for the Patnitop area and it would be one of the highest cable car projects in Asia. This project has been sanctioned to ensure that Patnitop doesn't lose its pristine glory after getting wiped out from the map of Srinagar-Jammu highway as the opening of Chenani-Nashri tunnel would lead to Patnitop, Batote and Kud getting cut off from the highway.
In the nutshell story of development has revolved around Jammu and its adjoining areas. Kashmir figures nowhere but the question is who should Kashmiris blame for lack of development and Kashmir not bagging prestigious projects? Time is running out for PDP as its left with only four years and a few months to implement its agenda of development and prove it to the people of Kashmir that joining hands with BJP was not a mistake.
(Javaid Malik is Senior Editor Greater Kashmir)