The chief minister deserves all kudos for her candid admission on the floor of the legislative assembly that "J&K has not emotionally integrated with India. Nobody can deny the fact that we have technically integrated with India but have not emotionally integrated". Whether it was an off the cuff remark or well considered confession, its implications have far reaching consequences. The way New Delhi has been dealing with J&K over the years gives an impression as if the state has eternally merged into Indian dominion. Past seven decades have witnessed ruthless erosion of Article 370 which was supposed to be a mere bridge between the two entities. Bakshis, Sadiqs, Qasims, Abdullahs and Muftis have left no stone unturned in tearing apart this mere technical and temporary relation for their personal benefit. They have deceived Kashmiris to the hilt by strengthening New Delhi's footprint in J&K year in and year out. The supremacy of constitution of India hardly needs to be re-emphasised. But existence of constitution of J&K framed by a full fledged constituent assembly is also beyond doubt. The bridge between the two was supposed to be too fragile to absorb any stress more than the three earmarked areas vis defence, foreign affairs and communications. But over the years, the cronies of New Delhi have literally trampled down the bridge. Numerous uprisings which have erupted so far sufficiently indicate expression of people's disgust, dissent and anger against the breach of trust time and again. While these upheavals have been turned into an opportunity to strengthen their foothold by enhancing the presence of forces by several notches to suppress the turbulence, the masses are being killed and jailed unabatedly on the pretext of law and order problem. The unrest of 2016 Intifada is a pointer to that.
The PDP was mainly created to provide a space between NC and Congress which had been ruling the state by turn. Having been disheartened and disillusioned by decades of misrule by the duo, the people were eager to have a third alternative. Respecting their sentiments, PDP came forward to fill this vacuum. The purpose was to apply balm on the wounds of beleaguered masses which they certainly did to some extent in their first tenure and work towards resolution of Kashmir issue. While preparing for 2014 elections, it was proclaimed that PDP is the only party which has the strength and determination to keep BJP-RSS out. This plank struck an instant chord with the people who voted for them even beyond their expectations. But when it came to the ministry formation, the PDP decided to join hands with a party having a dubious reputation for making India a Hindu Rashtra. PDP exhibited their lack of vision by going for this unholy alliance against the wishes of the masses. They failed to feel the pulse of the people who were not willing to gulp it down. Astonishingly, offer of support by NC and Congress for formation of the government was spurned down outrightly as they feared that the support may be too short-lived to depend upon. By taking support of BJP, formation of government was given preference over survival of the party. In the event of withdrawal of support by either NC or Congress, they could have gone back to the people claiming that instead of compromising on basic principles they have come back to you for a larger mandate to give a stable government on its own. The existing alliance has given all the political and economic leverages to BJP at the cost of PDP.
Consequently, PDP has lost its moorings in Kashmir without gaining anything even at the national level. With what agenda will they face the electorate at the next hustings must be making them jittery of their own existence. Even after literally sacrificing its own existence by joining hands with BJP, the PDP is not getting full support from its coalition partner on any major or even minor issue. Is it not deplorable, to put it mildly, that a chief minister cannot have a chief secretary of her choice!!! If such a trivial issue needs concurrence of the center, is it worth to be a CM. If a CM makes a statement on the floor of house regarding payment of compensation and job to the next of kin ( NoK ) of the victims of 2016 uprising, should the coalition partner oppose the decision of CM? Raising uproar at the party level, BJP made CM's decision conditional to the payment of similar compensation in favor of Amarnath Land Row victims. Grant of identity cards to West Pakistan Refugees was also done under BJP's pressure. These refugees are not J&K's responsibility in any manner but the liability has been thrust on it because of BJP's commitment made by them during election campaign.
The recent proclamation that AFSPA can be withdrawn only after peace returns to Kashmir is a tantamount to put the cart before the horse. The state and the central government must seriously ponder over creating a conducive atmosphere which are prerequisites for prevalence of peace. Neither of the duo have moved even a single step forward in that direction. Peace will not come out of blue. It has to be worked out sincerely by all stakeholders. PM indeed did visit Pakistan on Nawaz Sharif's grand daughter's marriage. It was of course very gracious of him but appeared more in the nature of a media scoop or a diplomatic coup.
The coalition government is about to complete two years. The period just fleeted away without any significant developmental work in Kashmir partially due to turmoil. On the contrary, many unpleasant events occurred and many more are showing up which are disenchanting the masses away from the government particularly PDP. The state which had carved out a niche for itself throughout the country in maintaining communal harmony even at the worst of times is getting polarized badly along communal lines.
Looking back at the past two years, it would be desirable for PDP to review its relation with the coalition partner. The time ahead is now crucial to take a call on future course of the party rather than government. If necessary, it may not shy away from divorcing its coalition partner.