What changed so quickly?
For now the ruling PDP may have climbed down on its rhetoric which threatened to bring down its coalition government with the BJP. But the issues that were flagged other day by its Tourism Minister and Chief Minister’s brother, and seconded by other party seniors, are far from being addressed. In fact the party’s appreciation for the BJP’s “support” in Asifa rape-and-murder does not only begin and end with BJP agreeing to sack its two of its ministers, who despite attracting all the flak continue to remain defiant as far as the actual charges against them are concerned. Moreover even this case is far from being decided. Judicial determination has just begun, and nobody really knows how long it will take for the justice system to fix responsibility for the heinous crime and punish guilty so that the victims get some sense of justice.
BJP’s behavior vis-a-vis the Asifa rape-and-murder case was no doubt the trigger for the latest showdown between the two coalition partners, but what Tassaduq Mufti said about the alliance had actually more to do with general lack of trust and rapport within the alliance than any specific episode. The issues and concerns that junior Mufti voiced are indeed a true reflection of how things have been since this alliance came into being, and also of the anger and frustration his party has attracted in the bargain.
So PDP will actually have to do some explaining to the people and spell out as to what happened in a single night that the party on the brink of calling it a day has chosen to sing praises of appreciation for its alliance partner. It must reveal if it has got any fresh assurances from the BJP’s central leadership about the party’s “sincere allegiance” to the ‘Agenda of Alliance’ now onwards. It must make public if there have been any fresh pledges to addressing all those sticky issues which have thus far brought only eggs on the PDP’s face. It must articulate if the Centre has agreed to any new formula as would help this party to regain and rebuild the trust it has lost in its core constituency because of BJP’s obduracy thus far. And more importantly, it must explain how this quick turn-around came about — that the party which, given the hindsight of past three years of its alliance with BJP, felt as having been reduced to a “partner in the crime of bloodshed in Kashmir”, now feels that “there is no substitute to this alliance”.
Like Tassaduq Mufti’s assertions, which clearly pointed to something beyond the Kathua episode, the latest patch-up between the two coalition partners also goes way beyond this case. People certainly have a right to know. The reason being that this latest political bargain – whatever it is – has also been struck over their heads! Here is how: PDP instead of slugging out its differences with the BJP at the party and governmental levels voiced its concerns publicly, thereby making people directly a party into the whole thing by giving them a notion that the party was privy and partner to their anger, their frustrations and their alienation. They were led into believing that their fears and their losses are not lost on this party; and that it shares their pain and agony and is ready to “seek their forgiveness for having failed them”. Now after a gap of a single day when the same party says that it is all praise and appreciation for its alliance partner, but stops short of explaining what actually has changed in such a short period of time, people have a reason to question it. The premise being that if “we the people” are made a party to the PDP’s misgivings with the BJP, we have a similar right to be made aware of the reasons for this sudden change of heart. If informed, it is great, otherwise they have a basis to believe that they have yet again been used a bargaining chip in the larger political game – something that is not new to the people of this land!