Beware of predators and poachers, take care of your flock. This is the classic warning for shepherds while they graze their flock in the Himalayan meadows. In Kashmir’s political meadow of expedient opportunities, the same warning is now visiting mainstream politicians.
After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew from the ruling alliance in Jammu and Kashmir, the politics of make and break is back with a vengeance.Dissident MLAs of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including the influential Shia leader and former minister Imran Ansari and his uncle, Abid Ansari, who is also an MLA in the 87-member legislative assembly, were the first to hit the road against Mehbooba Mufti, the former Chief Minister and the PDP president.
Three more PDP MLAs — Abbas Wani, Abdul Majeed Paddar and Javaid Hussain Baig — found common cause with the Ansaris to rebel against the party leadership.
Encouraged by the trend set by rebel MLAs, two PDP legislators from the upper house of state’s bicameral legislature, Yasir Rishi and Saifuddin Bhat, also joined the dissident group.
Alarmed by the cracks in her party, Mehbooba Mufti warned the Centre against attempting a split.
“The breaking up of my party will produce more Sallahuddins and Yasin Maliks,” Mehbooba said on July 13, the day Kashmir remembers its martyrs who fought against the autocratic rule of the erstwhile Maharajas.
BJP leaders including Ram Madhav, the party’s national general secretary who played a pivotal role in forging an alliance with the PDP that brought the coalition to power in 2015, washed their hands off.
“This is an internal issue of the PDP and we have nothing to do with it. Our priority is to improve the situation in the Valley under governor’s rule,” Madhav said.
Former Chief Minister and regional National Conference (NC) Vice President Omar Abdullah came out strongly against encouraging dissidence in the state’s regional parties.
Omar has been pleading from day one after the imposition of the governor’s rule by N.N.Vohra that keeping the state assembly in suspended animation gives an opportunity for horse trading.
The NC Vice President wants dissolution of the state assembly and announcement of fresh elections to restore democracy in the state.