Source: The Hitavada      Date: 02 May 2018 10:36:46

BY ASKING its ministers to resign from the Council of Ministers in Jammu and Kashmir and later naming otherteam of ministers as replacement,the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has effected a smart political move that is sure to tone down the strange stance of Chief Minister Ms. Mehbooba Mufti.This move is quite likely to lessen the tensions between the two partners,the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) of Ms. Mufti and the BJP, in the J&K Government. But more importantly, the BJP succeeded in giving a clear signal to the Chief Minister that she has to handle the post-Kathua situation in the State responsibly.

If Ms. Mehbooba Mufti learns rightlessons fromthis episode, itwillhelpnotjusther ownpolitical career but also the overall political situation in the State that has seen complex developments in the past one year. There is no doubt that the Kathua rape-and-murder case has been very badly handled by the State Government,thanks to the political considerations of the Chief Minister. Playing to the gallery,Ms.Mufti got dragged with the antagonistic political flow that seemed to have been crafted carefully to introduce more tension in Hindu-Muslim relations in the State as well as the country. It was really unfortunate to realise how even a Chief Minister can be misled by petty temptations in politics. As the events unfolded, Ms. Mufti gave up her prima donna position in State politics and started playing dirty without any reason, as if she was hell bent upon targeting her coalition partner, the BJP, and painting it in dirty shades. The BJP’s move to ask its ministers to resign and then suggest a new set of names for ministership came as a terse response to the Chief Minister’s petty politics.

Concerned about her Government’s survival, Ms. Mufti, then, agreed for the exercise in which she had two of her own PDP colleagues sworn in as ministers in the reshuffle. A smart operatorthat she is, Ms. Mufti tried to extract a little political mileage out of a tight situation into which the BJP forced her. Yet, due credit must be given to her as well for agreeing to undertake a reshuffle of her Council of Ministers. There is every reason now to hope that the internal tensions between the two partners will now ease a little. The situation in Jammu and Kashmir is really complex. One coalition partner, the PDP, sympathises clandestinely with the unfortunate prevalence of separatism in the State while the otherpartner,theBJP, openly opposes anything thathas evena faint scent of separatism.In the past some time, Ms. Mehbooba Mufti lenta clear support to many separatist activities and even ordered stern action against cops and security personnel for doing their duty correctly. That certainly put the BJP in a tight spot. The Kathua rape-and-murder case involving a little girl gave the tensions between the two partners an altogether different colour.

The BJP’s move to ask its ministers to resign and then suggest a new set of persons as replacement was to counter the Chief Minister’s partisan attitude. Let us hope that the move works. Let alone these political shenanigans, the actual situation in Kashmir continues to be confusing as all segments of the political community, except of course the BJP, feel a tug of compulsion to sympathise with separatists. The BJP’s purpose of agreeing to join hands with PDP to form Government was to gain an entry into power-structure and attain certain definitive level of effectiveness in countering separatism. The purpose stands served only to certain extent, which is good enough a gain given the complexity of the situation. Let us only hope this gain gives the BJP an added advantage in years to come. It is obvious that the BJP’s purpose is not purely political. Gaining power is every party’s ultimate aim. But in BJP’s case, there is a nationalistic facet, too, which sets the party apart from the crowd.