The scare that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would split if Mehbooba Mufti says no to government formation in Jammu and Kashmir created ripples in the political circles and the PDP itself.
Mehbooba outsmarted everyone and led from the front to avoid the split. She met the BJP President Amit Shah and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi one-on-one in New Delhi and struck the deal without any middlemen.
Mehbooba's move left the people who were talking about the split red faced within and outside her party and made them fall in line. The PDP Chief has already staked claim for the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir and she is the Chief Minister designate. Now it's just the matter of a few days when Mehbooba would be sworn in as the first woman Chief Minister of JK and would be heading the state.
As the government formation is taking place hectic deliberations are on about whom would Mehbooba induct in her cabinet, at least from her party. Most people believe that Mehbooba would carry on along with her old team and would make no changes. It's fair enough on her part. But the question is where do the people, who created the "split scare" and were ready to form the government with BJP, stand at present. Has their position weakened? Or are they still calling the shots?
The landmark decisions taken by the Governor N N Vohra during his two and a half months rule have proved that "all was not well" when BJP-PDP combine were ruling the state from March 2015, to January 2016. The cash crunch and flood victims not being provided the relief during the 10-month of PDP-BJP rule put the question mark on the government functioning. Within 2 months of Governor's rule flood victims were provided the aid sanctioned by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the cash crunch was also taken care off.
One wonders why PDP and BJP ministers failed to deliver when they were in power and why couldn't they do what Governor Vohra did? The Chief Minister designate and the PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti needs to give it a thought as she has got a Herculean task ahead. Besides taking her own leaders along she has to ensure that her coalition partner BJP remains in good humour, and its leaders concentrate on work rather than raking up controversies.
The PDP founder leaders Muzaffar Hussain Beigh and Tariq Hameed Kara have been standing on Mehbooba's side since the day her late father Mufti Muhammad Sayeed passed away. It's believed that Beigh played a vital role to prevent the BJP-PDP coalition from drifting away and ensured that Mehbooba meets the BJP top brass to break the ice. On the other hand another senior PDP leader Tariq Hameed Kara, too has stood by Mehbooba and has been accompanying and apparently advising her despite him being criticized for changing his stand and colour. Kara from day one had opposed the PDP-BJP alliance but it's believed that "Split Scare" made Kara change his mind and he stepped forward to save the PDP from the division which looked inevitable at one point of time.
As Mehbooba is going to take over the top post and has got nearly five years at her disposal the question is, does she need the support of the PDP founders and seniors who stood by her when she needed them the most. Both Beigh and Kara are Members of the Parliament and are unlikely to be the part of Mehbooba's cabinet as she too has to surrender the Anantnag Parliamentary seat to don the mantle of her late father.
If one recollects the developments which took place in last two and a half months then one comes to a conclusion that senior and experienced people could prove to be of great help to Mehbooba during her stint as the Chief Minister, but the bottomline is can PDP ask its senior leaders to vacate the MP seats and join the state cabinet. Mehbooba's seat has already fallen vacant. Can at least one of the top two PDP leaders Beigh or Karra vacate the seat and join Mehbooba?
Javaid Malik is Senior Editor Greater Kashmir) email@example.com