Confused priorities

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Former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti Sunday blamed the Indian cricket team’s new orange jersey for their loss against England in a World Cup match. “Call me superstitious but I’d say it’s the jersey that ended India’s winning streak in the #ICCWorldCup2019,” Mehbooba wrote on Twitter.

Now this is interesting. Because after her party’s worst drubbing in recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, nobody has heard PDP president say a word as to what were the reasons for this debacle. She hasn’t even bothered to explain her own failure in these elections from party’s south Kashmir bastion. Nor has she said a thing thus far about the sudden decline in the political fortunes of her PDP.

Why is it that a party which was in power, and Mehbooba herself in the driving seat until few months back, has turned into a hated formation, particularly in south Kashmir which is where the party was born and drew its maximum strength from? It seems Mehbooba Mufti does not have time, nor urge or patience for it. Otherwise, instead of analysing India’s cricketing prowess on the scale of her mythical thinking, she would have busied herself in finding out reasons for her party’s steady decline so as to try and salvage whatever little is left of it.

It is also interesting because now PDP president seeks to maintain political relevance and some degree of newsworthiness by venting out her superstitions on cricket, when actually she should have been talking about hard-jacketed politics of this place and its people. Needless to say that Kashmir’s political problems are far from being over so as to afford political leaders here the leisure to talk about superfluous luxuries which do not concern this place or its people even very remotely.

Being in power, PDP could have really made a big difference to the situation and politics of Jammu and Kashmir, but it busied itself with securing the interests of its corrupt leaders and workers, even when their unscrupulous deeds were brazenly explicit, like in facilitating appointment of their kin in lucrative banking and other jobs. Similarly, if one looks at the politics concerning Kashmir – the political dispute here both in its domestic as well as international dimensions – there were countless opportunities which were just squandered because PDP was more concerned about its nepotistic politics than about the interests of the common, ordinary people. Notwithstanding towering pledges and promises in so-called ‘agenda of alliance’, the party couldn’t attract a bare minimum of some well-meaning political initiatives for this place. Popular perception has it that PDP was programmed by its arrogance of power so much so that it lost the sight of its political base here. This is why today its politics is finding it very difficult to find any traction.

Instead of wasting time and energies on commenting on needless pursuits of ‘gentleman’s game’, it will be worthwhile for the PDP to devote itself to concede that the turn in its political fortunes for the worst is basically of its own making. The way this party conducted itself in Kashmir, particularly during its second stint in power, has left little reason for the people to believe that it really has some political grey matter left as is evident from the desertions it has faced. When people have turned their backs on PDP by putting their feet on its tail, the party should have the courage to concede wrongs it committed, and at least wear some remorse for its face. This should be the take-off point for its reconstruction and rejuvenation. Hope that the party tries and fixes its priorities, because its departure from the political scene will cost Kashmir a regional voice, which is in no way a healthy sign.

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