Existential crisis

the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has survived many crises. To run a coalition government with all of 17 MLAs for three years and leave an indelible impression behind is no mean task. During this period crisis after crisis was met with confidence and creativity, as long as they were leading the coalition.
No sooner, the chief  ministership changed the PDP seemed to have lost its plot. Vision was replaced by vile, patience gave way to paranoia and sagacity was lost to stubbornness.
Encouraged by the public appreciation of their three year track record, the PDP overstretched its muscles and got into a gambling mode. For a moment overconfidence made them forget that Congress had more than willing ally in NC.
True, the gambit could have paid off but unfortunately for PDP it did not. Even as they increased their number of seats and their vote share, they lost the chance to govern. From there it has been a quick, slide down hill. In the parliamentary elections they have not only lost in the state, they have lost in their bastion and now the party faces the challenge of surviving as a political party for the next six years.
It may not be the time yet for writing their obituary just yet but there are genuine and well founded concerns about their existence as the viable alternative to the NC. If they have to survive and grow their vote as they have in last five years they will have to get out off the morass of negativity, bitterness, and frustration. The mindset of conspiracy has to be replaced by one of challenge. To be positive and a purposeful opposition is the only road that will get them to where they aspire to be.
Let us not forget that the recent debacle notwithstanding PDP still have 21 members in the state legislative assembly. It is the only party that is exhibiting a steady growth in its vote share for the last five elections – three parliamentary and two assembly polls – when all the GOPs (grand old parties) are either waxing and waning or simply shrinking from one election to another.   
The critical ideological choice that they need to make now is whether to play the Muslim card and  be the Hurriyat team B or be a genuine Kashmir based party representing not only the aspirations of the valley but also those of Poonch, Rajouri and Doda without communalizing the state politics. The challenge is to represent the majority without majoritarianism in a sub-national ethnic manner and not in a communal fashion.
The other challenge is to find a national voice now that they have no representation in parliament. This will need all the skills and experience of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who has yet to play his last inning.

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