Losing Ground?

Sheikh Shabir

Politics is a game. The players have to be active always. Every move demands rational decision making. There is no place for complacency. Calling shots through rhetoric might spell a doom. Even conventional wisdom exhorts us not to take people for a ride because in the end, they too are able to distinguish chalk from cheese.

PDP made serious efforts to win last year’s elections for J&K state assembly. The party won 28 seats out of the 87 seat house and ended up forming coalition with BJP ruling Union from New Delhi. PDP’s success was momentous because it dislodged NC, the grand old party of Kashmir.

Credit for the success goes to PDP’s hard campaigning that promised development, progress and employment in the state. The party raised expectations of people who were not breathing easy under NC-led coalition. Everyone was perhaps expecting from PDP to deliver on its promises.

But the way PDP-led coalition is functioning, it seems to have lost its poll script. Complacency akin to NC is reflecting from its public posturing. Five months may not be enough time to judge one’s performance but people can’t be expected to wait till eternity before PDP will deliver. And by that way, don’ we know that coming events cast their shadows before.

The party that thrived on ‘change campaign’ couldn’t change the outlook of our roads, hospitals, educational institutions, and electricity. Things take time to take off, they might argue. But something can always be done on short notice. Now, it sounds a cliché to even recall the treatment this party did to flood victims.

Caught in this delayed governance set up, PDP showed door to 63 corrupt officials sending strong signals around, but lot needs to be done to weed out the rot.

On larger political front, the party faces the threat of regionalism as some babus seem to pit Jammu region against Kashmir valley. This was not promised by the party in its “Alliance of Agenda”. The agenda promises unity between the two regions but both has been fighting over institutions like AIIMS, IIT besides KP settlement. In the literal tug-of-war, it seems Jammu at behest of BJP ministers and MLAs is making the most. Er Rashid was right when he said that Jammu is reaping benefits from the sacrifices rendered by Kashmiris.

And then there is mishandling of employees, complaining over delayed wages. Several employees are sans salaries from six to eight months. Several others were not paid wages even on the holy occasion of Eid! It can be asked: why are there no earned wages? Are five months not enough to put on track the wage system? Why do some employees get their salaries in time while thousand others suffer for months? PDP was voted for a change, and for good governance. The party must remember the very reason they were voted to power.

Floating a new recruitment policy seems the only good task which the party managed to do. Though the policy met with a lot of criticism from public and political circles, but I believe, it is blessing in disguise given the huge population of unemployed youth in state.

But a question arises: when the state struggles to pay timely salaries to its existing employees, how will it pay the new ones? Confusion, on that front, prevails.

PDP needs to give up complacency and understand that if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. It is losing ground in the Kashmir valley. It needs to give up wishful thinking and take practical measures to serve people.

The author is a teacher and can be reached at

[email protected]

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