Coalition is the newest happening in Indian statecraft. As the individual parties eroded their credibility over the years, coalitions become the only way out to govern.
Given the ideological differences and the party planks, usually no two political parties are similar. A coalition is usually a compulsion that, at the best, works on common minimum programmes. These ‘marriages of convenience’ do, sometimes become ideal tools to rule because there are more balances and checks in place. But temporal friendships, deceit and blackmail plays its role, especially at places like J&K.
Kashmir has had a long history of alliances and coalitions that were the outcome of compulsive consensus. And given the fractured verdict among the five main stakeholders in the state – NC, PDP, Congress, BJP and Panthers Party, coalitions are expected to remain the main form of governance in J&K for many years. But the critical aspect of the emerging system in J&K is that it essentially will be a regional party and a national party that will form the government. In the non-BJP camp, it is Congress that is expected to be always in power. Last time Congress allied with PDP and this time with NC.
But this is a serious development. Regional forces have to address the regional concerns and the national parties will have to take care of the larger audience. With these targets, coalitions usually do not end up performing better and instead create more governance problems.
In the last coalition, PDP pulled the rug from under Ghulam Nabi Azad’s feet as the agitation peaked. Prior to that Congress contributed adversely in women related domicile bill that had serious consequences for the state politics, demography and the history. Now it is Omar feeling hurt for what Congress is doing to him while tackling AFSPA.
It is in this context that a coalition in J&K is apparently an alliance of some power-seeking individuals without principles, responsibility and accountability. Congress in J&K is central to coalition politics, and for this Party there are no permanent friends or foes at least when it comes to the coalition management.
Omar’s announcement of reviewing AFSPA triggered a crisis making Congress’s state president Prof Saif ud Din Soz to openly come in support of the draconian law. He thinks Omar is on the shaky ground because he has not done the consultation exercise.
Everybody in Kashmir knows who speaks for whom but these controversies impact the governance. Coalition does not run, it is managed and in the process administrative apparatus does not function at the requisite pace.
The success of a coalition government depends on how wisely you manage the coalition partners who sometimes seem to be moving in opposite directions taking into account their geopolitical, national and regional interests.