Good Days, Bad Times!

With Modi in PM’s chair and opposition reduced to non-existent entity after a historic mandate, hopes run high among people across ideologies that finally good days are here. But a day after, when Modi was still enjoying his win and settling himself at Race Course office, a junior minister Jitandra Singh Rana in his newly anointed cabinet created a political storm by claiming that the process of abrogating article 370 has begun.

The political high ground that Modi tactfully had gained by inviting Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharief for his high profile swearing in ceremony was lost in the conundrum that Singh’s statement caused. The high point of Modi-Sharief meeting that BJP lost no time in highlighting was Pakistani PM’s no mention of K-word on Indian soil. It was a kind of victories that BJP wanted to celebrate for a long time. The high profile meeting between the two PMs had put separatists in Kashmir on the back foot as Sharief declined to meet them in India. There was an immediate feeling of ‘abandon and left out’ felt in the Kashmiri separatist camp. Sharief’s actions signalled the beginning of new bonhomie between two nuclear rivals, and a supposed end of moral support for Kashmir. But the feeling of alienations didn’t last long as Singh, a BJP parliamentarian from Udhampur, made intentions clear about Modi’s Kashmir policy. After the reaction from both unionists and separatists in Kashmir, Singh had to eat his words, but he has already made a point across that BJP is ready to do the unexpected.

Singh’s statement though retracted has dashed many hopes in Kashmir, some overtly and some covertly. From day one, since Modi-wave swept across India, peacenik cleric and chairman of moderate faction of Hurriyat conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has pinned his hopes on BJP’s strong man for a possible solution to K-issue. There were many others in Kashmir who secretly agreed with Umar. But as soon as Singh made his party’s intentions clear about article 370 the supporting voices automatically died down. Umar was left alone to still pin hopes on Modi and his men for finding an amicable solution to Kashmir issue. Other’s joined the chorus to beat the drum against implications of abrogating article 370.

But keeping in mind BJP’s stand on Kashmir that found place in its 2014 election manifesto any progress on K-issue front is least likely. Last time when Advani engaged moderate Hurriyat voices for a dialogue, his first sentence was, “nothing out of the preview of Indian constitution.” So it would be interesting to see how separatists, who don’t want to settle for anything less than right to self determination, will manage Modi.

Is it the already the end of tunnel for any hopes from Modi sarkar or there is still hope, only time will tell.

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