The PDP after failing to pull the government down when it seemed easily possible has realized that the best course to stay is building and expanding the party accompanied with as much noise as possible.
It seems the party that the 2008 assembly elections made the most polled political party in Kashmir is tired. Almost sure that the government is unlikely to change for some more time, they have restricted their activities to street-protests. “What else can we do,” asked one of the supposedly frontline ideologues. “We are living in a situation where breathing sometimes is a restrictive affair, we are not even permitted to speak where we are mandated to raise issues and seek answers that is the assembly. This, obviously, has forced us to be on the roads.”
Regardless of the systems the party has evolved over the years, it goes to the credit of the party to be the most active opposition in the state, right now. Its leaders might not be as active as their counterparts in other states but its frontline is working. Its media cell generates a feeling of political insomnia about the party.
Ruling National Conference that lacks a history of tolerating opposition has decimated the right wing BJP, it’s erstwhile ally in Jammu. But that formula has not been so successful with the PDP. This is despite the fact that some of PDP lawmakers are apparently very cozy with various functionaries in the ruling coalition than their own party. But will that help the ruling coalition to trim its influence remains to be seen.
Street protests apart, what is significant is the party’s efforts to expand its influence beyond the Pir Panchal. It is one of the most active political parties in Jammu’s Rajouri and Poonch region where it has been highly successful in telling the people that the party has immensely contributed in getting the region closer to Kashmir valley through the Mughal road. The road, that was unofficially functional this summer for the second consecutive year, has started impacting the socio-economic milieu of the twin districts.
Even in the Jammu plains, especially the Dogra heartland, it is making it’s existence felt though it may not necessarily lead to electoral gains for the party. Cadre poaching is now its regular exercise in Jammu.
Right noises at the right time and campaigning at ground level did help the party in putting up a good show in the last panchayat polls. The numbers might be disputed but the growth cannot be denied. At one stage, the party was desperate to see the Omar Abdullah government fall. It might have adversely contributed to that at various levels. As nothing happened, it has reconciled with the larger reality that the ‘picture perfect’ Omar will complete his term. Right now the PDP does not want even congress to replace him because their logic is that it can help the party become a better opposition and that will eat away the space and influence in which PDP is working. Many in the Congress led UPA government in Delhi also think on similar lines. That means PDP is finally growing beyond the Papa Daughter Party.