BJP shouldn’t be like Alexander who wanted to conquer the world: Ghulam Nabi Azad

New Delhi(PTI): Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday asked BJP not to indulge in “arm-twisting” tactics and be “insensitive” while “bulldozing” its way on government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Ghulam Nabi Azad. AFP

“The way BJP is bulldozing itself on regional parties in Jammu and Kashmir and that’s just being insensitive towards the mandate and people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Azad, who is leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, told reporters in New Delhi.

“The tall claims made by the BJP about the popular vote is negated by the fact that it has been rejected by two divisions of the state — Kashmir and Ladakh — which has not returned a single MLA of that party,” he said.

The senior Congress leader said that his party had made an offer to the PDP for its support and the ball was in its court.
“We have not asked anything in return from PDP. Mufti (Mohammed Sayeed) is a seasoned politician and I hope he will take a right decision at right time,” he said.

He reminded that in 2002, government formation had taken 22 days.
Representational image. AFP.
“There is still time left for the present assembly to expire so there is no need to hurry,” he said.
Azad also asked BJP to refrain from polarisation of states like Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and in the northeast.
“These states are sensitive — religious as well as geographical wise. It took 67 years for people in Kashmir to digest Congress policies. Does BJP think that it will be acceptable to Kashmiris overnight? That’s what I call being insensitive,” he said.

BJP should refrain from becoming like “Alexander, who wanted to conquer the entire world, and rather step aside and focus on better government in the country than pursuing its perceived goal of saffronisation of the country,” he said.
Asked about talks taking place between BJP and PDP, Azad said he would not like to comment on media reports but reiterated his statement that if National Conference or PDP joins BJP, they will be “obliterated from the political scene of the Kashmir Valley”.
To a question about the dilemma on part of the PDP that if it doesn’t tie up with BJP, it may end up facing acute fund crunch, Azad laughed and said “We live in a democracy and such things are only figment of imagination.”

Wajahat Qazi is a Consultant, Jammu and Kashmir, Entrepreneurship Development Institute(JKEDI) says in a article:

The BJP’s rise to prominence in the Jammu division stems from the slow but steady rise of a party which has built its campaign around a quasi-presidential theme with Modi at its centre. This trend gained traction and momentum during the nineties, saw a bit of a hiatus in the first decade of the 21st century, incubated during the UPA’s pedestrian performance in government and then hit its apogee in the middle of this year.

There can be no gainsaying the fact that this trend is structural and is here to stay for a long time. That it would reach the Jammu division of Jammu & Kashmir was a matter of time. The BJP’s stellar performance in Jammu then is no surprise.
In Kashmir, as I have maintained in my columns, mainstream political competition is duopolistic: the main players are the PDP and the NC. The 2014 assembly elections correspond to this duopolistic political competition: the natural laws and norms of politics and political competition kicked in and anti-incumbency, and its corollary, choice, are at play in Kashmir now. Even though the PDP has emerged as the single largest party in Kashmir, the difference between it and the NC in terms of vote share is very narrow. This means that competition is intense and the two parties are neck-and-neck.

Paradoxically, complementing the mainstream political space is the politics, and the sentiment, of separatism. Notwithstanding the massive voter turnout in Kashmir, the sentiment of separatism remains a key structural factor. Ignoring it amounts to the proverbial ‘Ostrich in the sand’ syndrome.

The implication and the inference that can be drawn here would amount to restating the obvious: political space in the state is inchoate and fragmented. The key question here is: given the fragmented political space in Kashmir, who can capture the imagination of Kashmiris?

Consider the mainstream political space first. Here the key actors are Omar Abdullah and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed – the patron of the PDP. Notwithstanding the criticisms directed against Omar, he still represents youth, dynamism and a potentially fresh idiom in the politics of the state. Arrayed against this is the experience and staying power of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Which of the two can best work for Kashmir? Ideally a blend of both but it will have to be either of the two. Who will prevail may fall in the realm of the ‘unknown unknown’.

Now consider separatism: the dominant sentiment in Kashmir. While there may be a disconnect between separatists and the people of the state, separatism remains an ever present, dominant reality of Kashmir.

Overlaying this political condition in Kashmir is the most critical and delicate feature of Kashmir’s contemporary landscape: structural change in the valley’s demographic, social, political and politico-economic composition. Kashmir is in flux where the older cohort of Kashmiris is gradually giving way to Kashmir’s gen next – the future of Kashmir. This young cohort is highly educated, self aware, aspirational, connected to and aware of the world beyond Kashmir. The aspirations, trajectory and direction of this youth cohort are the key to the future of Kashmir.

Who will they respond to?
This question is a poser but tentative answers may be teased out. First, what this generation will not accept. This young cohort will not accept the politics of the old; neither will they be easily swayed by either catchy slogans of developmentalism and governance. With the passage of time they will demand a fresh and novel approach towards politics – be it separatism or mainstream politics – an approach wherein they have a voice and where they will be heard. Or, in other words, they would want to be treated as thinking, reflective adults.

The politics of paternalism and perhaps even patronage will be a non-starter for this cohort. The nature and substance of politics that they will likely gyrate to would be in the nature of clean politics which accords them a life and future defined by dignity, honour, including an honorable peace, and a future in which they have a robust and vigorous stake. These constitute the basic elements and framework of what the gen-next of Kashmiris want and aspire for
Whoever gives this young cohort what it wants will have Kashmir in the palm of their hands.