Govt Formation: Omar Abdullah Reacts

After Peoples Democratic Party lawmakers elected Mehbooba Mufti as their legislative party leader, former CM and National Conference working president, Omar Abdullah, analysed two month’s political stalement in Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir Life reproduces content of a post Omar put on his official Facebook page

The screenshot of Omar Abdullah's Facebook page.
The screenshot of Omar Abdullah’s Facebook page downloaded on March 24, 2016 @ 19:39 PM.

For the last more than two months, J&K has witnessed a bizarre, roller-coaster performance of political posturing from the PDP that has been underlined by a spectacular display of indecisive leadership. After the demise of Late Mufti Sahab, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti declared her unwillingness to take over the reins of power unless BJP and the Central Government announce certain Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) to allegedly infuse confidence in the people. For these two months, Mehbooba Mufti termed her father’s decision to align with the BJP as an “unpopular” one, describing how the BJP had made Mufti Sahab run from pillar to post.

Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti

It’s widely believed that Mehbooba Mufti’s intentions were docile and noble – at least as far as the BJP is concerned. She wanted to be seen as a rebel who wanted to be seen as immune to the temptation of the same power that her father had succumbed to. There was talk of Mehbooba demanding the return of power projects, the revocation of AFSPA, opening of additional LoC routes besides a brief list of other demands. While Mehbooba kept reiterating her decision to not form a Government with the BJP till she gets specific and formal assurances and announcements on these issues, Senior PDP leaders including Muzaffar Baigh publicly announced that PDP had not placed any new demands on the table.

What started as Mehbooba Mufti’s claim for the higher moral ground has clearly ended in the same old territory of serious contradictions – by now an all too familiar hallmark of her politics and that of her party’s. The last month was apparently spent in mollifying the BJP’s central leadership and reiterating an unconditional, unquestionable loyalty to them. The tables had turned and how. Now it was the PDP serenading the BJP. Soon after meeting the Prime Minister, BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav went on record to say that there was no talk of Government formation in the meeting between Mehbooba Mufti and the Prime Minister and also reiterated that PDP had not made any demands. In an even more damning cutting-to-size maneuver, Ram Madhav told the media that the Prime Minister had received Mehbooba Mufti with great courtesy and had asked her to take up the alliance negotiations with the BJP leadership instead of him. He went on to state that these negotiations are best held at the party level and not at the Prime Minister’s level and that BJP would hold negotiations on this issue after PDP’s Legislative Party meeting in Srinagar today.

Mehbooba Mufti after being elected as PDP's legislative party leader by her lawmakers at her Fairview residence on March 23, 2016. She will be first woman CM of J&K, now.
Mehbooba Mufti after being elected as PDP’s legislative party leader by her lawmakers at her Fairview residence on March 23, 2016. She will be first woman CM of J&K, now.

It’s evident that Mehbooba Mufti, terrified by the imminent fragmentation of her party, rushed to New Delhi twice in a matter of days to try and apologize for her posturing and her little rebellion. As PDP is now clearly about to form the Government with BJP with Mehbooba Mufti in the CM’s chair, the expectations raised by them for the last two months stand shattered and effortlessly so. If the last two months are a precursor and an indication of the next more than four years to come – God save our State from such indecisive, wavering leadership. How will such a leadership confront the divisive forces that threaten the State’s integrity, its amity and its peace? How will such indecisiveness affect the State politically and economically is something that remains to be seen. Sadly, the script seems to have been written and the preview is alarming.

– OA (Omar Abdullah)


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