Even though it was in alliance with the PDP here for nearly three years, the BJP government at the Centre was never in a mood to allow even a breather to the former. Irrespective of what PDP would say and claim here, its alliance partner on every single occasion made it clear that it would rather stick to its own script vis-à-vis Kashmir than be moved by anything that the PDP would say or want.
Indeed the erstwhile alliance government is replete with countless examples which could be cited to attest the point. One being that despite PDP drumming up that facilitating a dialogue between the Centre and the separatists and New Delhi and Islamabad was top on its agenda and also on the so-called ‘Agenda of Alliance’ between the two partners, BJP government at the Centre paid no heed. The PDP president and then chief minister Mehbooba Mufti had following each of her meetings with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, had boastfully claimed that the Centre was amenable to talks on Kashmir. She had even gone to the extent of saying that she had convinced the Centre to start dialogue on Kashmir and that the same would happen once there was some semblance of calm here. But neither did calm return here nor did any reconciliation process begin, though BJP too kept saying that it was following the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ –the basic framework of partnership between the two parties, which vowed to have a process of dialogue and reconciliation going between Srinagar and New Delhi as well as between New Delhi and Islamabad.
Ideally, the PDP should have walked out of the alliance after facing continued snubs from its partner, but given the damage it has suffered owing to its partnership with BJP, it couldn’t afford such hard posturing. So the party was left with no option but to continue being at the receiving end of whatever else followed, including the BJP catching it unawares when it pulled out of the alliance.
That the PDP’s experiment of changing the political geography of the place by trying to bring north and south poles together has not worked – it has backfired instead. And in the bargain PDP has certainly suffered some irreparable damage. And what is still more frustrating for the party is that it is in no position to try and salvage anything – it has actually lost even that minimum space wherein it could at least attempt to reclaim its lost face and ground.
Making matters worse for the PDP was the imposition of Central rule in Jammu and Kashmir. Although initially the move was tipped to be fraught with so many dangers, but there was centre a huge constituency which seriously believed that it would act as a sort of release valve for the public anger here. Their claim was it will give agitating population of Kashmir some ‘sense of achievement’ that they have at least been able to unseat PDP.
Now whether that goal has been achieved or not remains to be seen. However, even if one goes on to discount the larger political ramifications for the time being, fact of the matter remains that since the imposition of the Governor’s rule, this place has seen a visible improvement in matters of development at least. For instance, the projects, like the Jehangir Chowk- Ram Bagh flyover which were either halted or continuing at a very tardy pace for no visible reasons are now being completed with renewed vigor. Roads and streets in Srinagar and elsewhere which had been craving for attention are being coated with fresh layer of asphalt. Unlike the ministers of the previous regime, Governor’s advisors or for that matter the Governor Satya Pal Malik himself is easily accessible, and people are meeting them and apprising them of their needs and grievances, which are also attracting prompt redressal.
Now all this is adding to the political woes of PDP as well as NC. Both these parties are now left with no choice but to go back to basing their politics on highly sensitive and emotive issues. Whether this would help these regional parties to regain some traction with the common masses here remains to be seen.