FORMER Chief Minister of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti is making every overt and covert effort to revive her party – the PDP – which was dented a severe blow following the resignation of almost all former legislators, leaders and workers after her government was toppled over by the alliance partner BJP in Jun 2018. Though Dr. Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference and PDP are constituents of INDIA alliance at the national level and also are the key partners in locally formed Gupkar alliance, Mehbooba is targeting the National Conference wherever she can.
Simultaneously, she is attempting to revive what was called as soft separatism in order to keep its old but silent ally Jamaat-e-Islami intact. For Mehbooba, what matters the most is to somehow garner the support of that segment of the society which has been rendered redundant, post the abrogation of Article 370. On the face of it, practical and impractical is immaterial to her. There seems a consensus between her and her handful of party leaders that they could be benefitted by politics of reconciliation. For public consumption, Mehbooba continues to rant anti-BJP rhetoric to gain the sympathy of the disgruntled lot. However, there is more than meets the eye. Mehbooba is reportedly in touch with the BJP leadership, ready to have a post-election alliance with the party as and when elections to the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly are held. Defying INDIA alliance and Gupkar alliance, according to many, is part of the bigger project.
Over the last three-four months, the local administration has been ignoring the rant of Mehbooba Mufti which, according to some observers, is because of the broader understanding at the highest level. In the past too, BJP was the immediate beneficiary of Mehbooba’s rhetoric’s and vice versa. Some even compare Mehbooba with Asaduddin Owaisi. Owaisi is apparently the most vocal critique of BJP but his politics damages Congress and is beneficial to the BJP in many ways. Mehbooba too is a strong BJP critic and BJP is the direct beneficiary of the former’s rant.
But alas, National Conference is not Congress. It is Dr. Farooq Abdullah’s party. There are reports, though not confirmed, that the NC leadership is making reach-out efforts and they too have opened communication channels with the BJP to reach a tacit understanding. In fact, every big or small political actor of Kashmir is in race to be on the right side of the BJP but locally all are trying to garner the public support on anti-BJP rhetoric.