Supporting Didi

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In wake of the standoff between Mamta Banerjee and the CBI (read central government) over the raids on West Bengal police chief, the Kashmir parties were vocal in extending their support to the iron lady of Bengal. They issued statements and took to the Twitter to extend the support.

Omar Abdullah tweeted in support of Mamata’s stand against the centre. Later when she started her dharna, he spoke to her and insisted how the Narendra Modi led centre has been using the CBI as a “political tool” and how the institutions are being misused.

Mehbooba Mufti, Omar’s arch-rival, was not an inch behind in extending her support to the West Bengal leader. She said Jammu and Kashmir’s history stands testament to how this state has faced the “wrath of central agencies”. She also said that the central government has hijacked the institutions to “discredit political opponents”.

Both the Kashmir leaders talked about the fate of federal structure of the country and the abysmal state of centre-state relationship.

While their statements gave them space on the newspaper front-pages, they forgot their role in neutralising the state’s special position, over the years. Engineer Rasheed was perhaps the only political worker who issued a counter-statement telling both the leaders about their role, while they were in the government. He suggested them to actually take some lesson from what Mamata Benerjee was doing for her own state.

The fact is that after Jammu and Kashmir joined the union of India the state got a political deal that made it a special state with its own constitution, flag, rights and the legislative powers. Within a few years after the deal, the situation was created and a process of undoing started. That process is still going on.

Delhi, per se, might not have intervened to the extent it eventually did in hollowing the special status of the state, had there not been support by the political class on ground in Srinagar. There are countless instances of compromise in lieu of power and authority and all the parties did it. NC being the oldest party that dominated history for decades caused it a major damage and so did PDP proportionate to its age. In between, there were political forces who belonged to the same class and did whatever they were asked.

Between 1975 and 2019, there were a series of such cases that hit special status of the state. Constitutional arrangement apart, the two parties did everything, they could to please the central government in outwitting each other in Srinagar. The two parties, separately compromised state’s economic future and the majority mandate in the state.

The two parties – incidentally, out of power right now, might have found a common cause with the Bengal Chief Minister but the fact is they are unwilling to join hands on issues, which apparently seem closer to them. The rare instance has been in 2018 when the situation forced them to join hands to form a government with Congress and other secular parties to undo BJP’s ideation of seizing power. The move, however, failed.

Politics in the mainland India is changed on daily basis but in Jammu and Kashmir, it has already changed a lot. With the active help of political class, a huge proliferation has already taken place. Earlier, there were two political forces in Kashmir. Now Congress is also taking the refuge in Kashmir at state level. Newer forces are keen to get the power and that is going to create a situation that now nobody knows if NC and PDP can even form a government if they join hands.

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