Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s day long visit remained incident free till he reached Delhi. Then, one boy was hit by the shell and died. The security grid that spent many sleepless nights on the roads was expected to take rest now. There is also a possibility of the few hundred people who spent many days in the police lock-ups going home.
In the new situation, it remains to be seen how the government will manage the impact of the “kill” that came after everything was safely over.
But the visit, at the same time, proved vital in explaining certain things which are important for the politics of the state, right now. Here is our take on the outcome:
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi is happy over the performance of the government in J&K. He was actually excited over seeing so much of people actually coming to the venue to listen him. Modi mentioned in his speech that presence of so many people in the park indicates a change which essentially might have been brought about by the government.
- By the same logic, given the impressive presence of people, it is also indicative of the fact that support base of the PDP has not eroded the way it seems events would result in. Most of the participation was reported from south Kashmir, the same belt that witnessed one murder by right wingers on the highway. That event prevented any PDP leader to visit the home of the deceased as the entire belt reeled under curfew. It seems the events taking place in mainland India and the aggressive exhibition of its power by the rightwing is not disrupting the ground zero and ruling party’s support base is not unwilling to give their party some more time in delivering things.
- But the same function, impressive by all standards, exposed the chinks in the party. There is some internal bickering. Of the three members in Lok Sabha, two were absent and both claimed they were not invited. The party may have to spear time and manage the gaps which are visible now publicly.
- Ruling PDP was actually working to reenact the Vajpayee moment when in 2002 the then Prime Minister extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan. Then, he announced involving the separatists and a series of meetings took place between Delhi and Kashmir separatists. Even Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed hinted towards that in his speech.
But Modi remained unmoved. Apart from saying that he would not require anybody’s advice, Modi invoked ‘insaniyat, kashmiriyat and jamhooriyat’ (Humanity, Kashmiriyat and Democracy). Modi actually talked about the panchayat elections and said it will further help democracy in the state. He skipped mentioning Pakistan. It is worth mentioning here that the separatist had announced a ‘Million March’ to coincide with Modi visit. But the government not only disallowed the march but also arrested most of the sponsors. In fact, part of Srinagar was put under curfew for the entire day. So on Kashmir front involving talking to Pakistan and engaging separatists, PDP failed in getting the Prime Minister even mention that.
- Of late, PDP had taken the issue of the rise of intolerance in India and parts of J&K on its shoulders. Apparently as the Chief Executive of India’s Muslim majority state, Mufti Sayeed talked about this in his speech. Prior to that, his MP Muzaffar Hussain Beg had written an open letter to Modi suggesting him to contain intolerance.
But Modi skipped reacting to it. As the verdict of elections in Bihar is round the corner, Modi did not find it proper to even acknowledge the issue. He insisted on Vikas (development) and ignored the rising intolerance in India and in J&K. So PDP failed to get any assurance on this front at a time when the liberal forces and minorities in India were expecting some acknowledgement of the crisis that dominates roads and the public spaces.