Akeel Rashid

Does political bartering imply to non-existence of ‘political will’ in JK? 

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We all have been observing the current political bartering taking place in Jammu and Kashmir wherein politicians are choosing one political party over another. This political exchange is not happening – as being projected – for the betterment of the state, not at all, and by saying so I owe an explanation to the politicians. And before taking a leap into the details of my explanation, I would like to begin with this plausible argument of mine- with our state doubtlessly undergoing political crisis, the political bartering – with a sequent fractured mandate – will further exacerbate the problem of ‘political will’ in Jammu and Kashmir. Now the question that arises here is how do I recognize the non-existence of ‘political will’ in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and blame political bartering for it. I would contend that a political leader can be said to be exhibiting political will if he/she relinquishes political capital and incurs opportunity costs. But political bartering is the other way round here and runs to excess as it is about acquiring political capital and grabbing the right opportunity.

More to the point, Governor Satya Pal Malik had also tacitly underlined the absence of collective ‘political will’ in the state of Jammu and Kashmir when he came up with a statement on why he dissolved J&K Assembly. He had said that, “...the impossibility of forming a stable government by the coming together of political parties with opposing political ideologies including some which have been demanding dissolution of the Assembly; whereas the experience of the past few years shows that with the fractured mandate that is there in the Assembly, it is not possible to form a stable government comprising of like-minded parties. The coming together of such parties in a grouping is nothing but an attempt to gain power rather than to form a responsive government.”

What is this crisis of ‘political will’ all about and how is it shaping things for the worse in Jammu and Kashmir? First thing first, the people in Kashmir are confusing ‘political unwillingness’ of politicians for ‘opposition’– an important element of politicking – because the former have often found a reason to choose a ‘onetime opposition political party’ for ruling the state. This approach of people with regard to the voter choice has just served the purpose of moving the political goalposts as after being thrown out of power that particular political party will always claim to have taken steps, while in power, for addressing the problems in Jammu and Kashmir. The political party – previously having made the aforementioned claim while out of power – once comes to power starts all over again with its laid down steps to address the problems in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, until the cycle repeats itself.

Moreover, it is during the times of crisis only that the government in the state feels the need for exhibiting and thereof employing the collective ‘political will’ as it calls for an all-party meeting to come up with a set of viable solutions to tackle the crisis.

We have been long picking up the loopholes in the narratives of politicians and this approach has arguably led the political progress in the state to nowhere. It is time for political analysts and those who set the discourse to take a leap from correcting the narratives of politicians to doing some loopholing with technicalities of politics.

The author can be reached at akeelsofi@gmail.com

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