Lessons learnt and not-learnt

And emerged as the single largest party from Kashmir Province but failed to register his presence in Jammu plains.
Lessons learnt and not-learnt
File Photo

It has been a long wait. For eight thousand seven hundred and sixty hours, five million flood affected people have been waiting for relief and rehabilitation from the Mufti Syed led government.  

For failure of the NC-Congress coalition government to rise to the occasion during the 7 September 2014 floods, in 2015 elections people voted the Abdullahs out of power.  For Abdullahs that had reigned supreme in the power politics of the State for almost five decades, it was worst ever defeat. Building his political castle on the failure of Omar Abdullah to deliver during the deluge, Mufti Syed improved tally of his party in   November -December 2014 elections.  

And emerged as the single largest party from Kashmir Province but failed to register his presence in Jammu plains. He also failed to gain entry into Chenab Valley and Pir Panchal range that in electoral battles have been traditionally going along with the Kashmir electorate.   

In largely rigged and manipulated electoral history of the State the 2014 elections for first time threw up the worst ever polarized mandate. The People in Jammu planes overwhelmingly voted for the BJP candidates. Enabling the party to increase number of seats in the Assembly three times in the planes and  for the first time emerge as key a stakeholder in power game- How and why and   what are long term implications of this mandate for the State is not subject of this column. The party with its divisive politics bordering on changing demography of the state and communal agenda could have been kept out of the corridors of power had not the PDP buckle under pressures from the invisible hands.  In the government formation, Mufti Syed had a couple of options, one he could have an alliance with his old time buddies in the Congress, CPI and independent candidates or seek support from outside  from the National Conference and the Congress for government formation.  To halt BJP's march towards corridors of power in the State, both the National Conference and the Congress had made offers of support from outside to the PDP. It was more out of premonitions of the NC  and  Congress later on withdrawing the support that the PDP entered into alliance with the BJP under the façade of the Common Minimum Program. To cover up, being partner in the hideous agenda of eroding the Constitutional safeguards that state has been enjoying under Article 370 and 35 A the PDP publicly stated that it had joined alliance to get maximum funds from New Delhi for relief and rehabilitation of flood hit people and fore rebuilding the infrastructure of the state.  So far the alibi given by Mufti Syed for entering into alliance with the BJP in the state has proved a big hoax. 

More than a trillion rupees losses were suffered by the state in this flood. The state government and non-governmental agencies had independently arrived at these figures. The government under Omar Abdullah, realizing close-fisted policy of the Modi government towards Jammu and Kashmir had sent a slashed down proposal of Rs. 440000 Crore flood relief and rehabilitation package for approval to the Modi government. This year in June after nine months the New Delhi announced an "additional relief package of Rs.2437 crore for the reconstruction and rehabilitation that taken together with the previous relief package, comes to Rs.5039 crore. This meagre package not even fraction of the losses suffered by the state when analysed in the light of the breakup given under various heads   is also nothing but a juggling of figures. Out of the total amount the Rs.1602 Crores is the routine state share from the NDRF, Rs.883 Crores for clearing of old liabilities accumulated under Prime Ministers Reconstruction Plan (PMRP), Rs. 172 Crores for tourism schemes, 557 under housing sector, 59.37 Crores debited towards free ration distributed during floods, the package also included Rs.1, 000 crore was also announced by Modi as a special project assistance when he visited the state last year. The figures speak themselves that New Delhi has not so far even given peanuts for relief and rehabilitation of flood effected the state government. And these also exposed the claim made by Chief Minister, Mufti Syed that his alliance with   the BJP- the ruling party at New Delhi would enable him to mobilize maximum resources from New Delhi.

In the history of the State, it is for the first time when the  High Court had to intervene and ask New Delhi government to disclose its policy towards allocating funds for relief and rehabilitation of flood effected people. It goes without saying that compared to Uttarakhand the BJP government adopted a different relief and rehabilitation policy towards Jammu and Kashmir. In Uttarakhand, the World Bank and Asia Development Bank was allowed to come forward within a fortnight and during the same period relief and rehabilitation package was also announced. Ironically, it did not allow even relief from Kashmir Diaspora to come to the State.  The question arises why New Delhi adopted two different yard sticks for the two Himalayan States. 

This question has a simple answer that New Delhi has an altogether difference bible for governing the Jammu and Kashmir. To advance its political agenda in the state, during past sixty six years it has adopted a carrot and stick policy. In 1947, Indira Gandhi wrote to her father Jawaharlal Nehru that only thing that "can save Kashmir for India" is "food and salt" and "influx of visitors during summers." "These people have no feelings, no opinion and soul", all that "they want sell their goods." The BJP close-fisted policy is not different from Nehru's food subsidy policy of fifties in as much as achieving of political objectives in the state are concerned. The party wants to use the much touted relief package for translating its political agenda in the state into reality with active cooperation of its alliance partner in the state.  Laughably, the dissenting leadership without learning lessons from the history, toeing populist lesson have been joining the "dominant discourse".

 zahidgm@greaterkashmir.com 

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