Governor’s Rule has been imposed in J&K. This is the irony of democracy where governments are formed amidst allegations of corruption in election practices, and here the most impartial elections were held; yet no government could be formed as yet. The political parties in the Valley find themselves in catch 22 situation on the count of aligning with BJP which had emerged victorious in Jammu region. How will they explain their moving closer to BJP to their workers? The people of the state have ruled for the democratic government ignoring the threat of the militants but their political masters are still hesitant to go with BJP and give a popular government to the people of the state. The reason: Their relations with the separatists are deeper than the common people and that they had earned more benefit from these relations.
|The BJP’s demand for a CM from Jammu is not unjust and surprising.|
The situation became complex when the moment BJP pressed hard for its Chief Minister. This disturbed the political apple carts of power-hungry politicians. BJP had given the slogan of making Chief Minister from Jammu and the party reaped the benefit of this slogan. On the other hand, the parties in the Valley pressed the panic button for their voters on the same count. The BJP’s demand for a CM from Jammu is not unjust and surprising.
The formula in J&K does not only aim at preventing the BJP, it wants to snatch the legitimate right of an elected MLA from Jammu to become Chief Minister of the State and for this challenge the right of Hindu to become CM. There can be nothing most objectionable in any democracy than this when an individual or a party is deprived on the basis that he or his party represents a particular region or a community. But this is exactly happening and the worst part is no political party or leader who swears by the constitution and secularism see any wrong in this!
But the citizens of India are wondering when a Abdul Gafoor can become CM of Hindu majority state of Bihar; when Zakir Hussain, Fakruddin Ali Ahmad, and Dr APJ Abdul Kalam can become Presidents of India then the secular character of the country remains intact. But when a Hindu is projected as CM of J&K these very leaders and parties raise a hue and cry over the danger to secularism! How can this logic be accepted in secular India? However, the answer to seemingly simple and easy question is difficult.
We need to go four decades back to find the answer. On January 3, 1977 the 42nd amendment to the Constitution was made effective inserting the words in the Preamble such as “Socialist”, “Secular” in the first para and “and Sovereignty” in the penultimate para. However, these amendments were not made applicable to J&K state as per provisions of Annexure 2 of the Constitution. The question, therefore arises whether not making these provisions applicable to the state of J&K was against the spirit of the Constitution? And these provisions are enshrined in the Constitution of India. Does it mean that politics of Delhi should be equally held responsible if the people of J&K believe that they enjoy some special rights and that their leaders refuse to accept a Hindu as the CM of the state?
This is to be underlined here that this undemocratic amendment was effected during the time of the Congress rule when Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister. When the decision was taken that these amendments would not be made applicable to J&K; the country was under Emergency and there was no one to oppose this in the Parliament. At this time the tenure of Vidhan Sabhas was increased by one year. This was immediately accepted by the state. But the other two amendments were not accepted.
It may be recalled that when the Congress enjoyed 2/3 rd majority with 58 out of 75 MLAs and the Jamat-e-Islami had only five MLAs, the Congress dethroned its own Chief Minister and freed Sheikh Abdullah and enthroned him as CM who did not have a single MLA in the House.
When this constitutional amendment was not applied to the state of J&K, when there was a Congress rule in the State and at the Centre, the blame goes directly to the Congress party. What it did sow a decade ago the country is now reaping its bitter and poisonous fruits. The Congress which bought the allegiance of a handful of leaders and ignored the popular expectations and aspirations will have to undergo a serious remorse to get absolved of this sin. Prime Minister made a serious attempt in establishing a direct dialogue with the people and the party has got the benefits.
It is said that each metal can melt provided the required temperature is there. Maybe, the BJP did not get sufficient time to win over the people’s confidence thus depriving it from expected results from Kashmir valley and Ladakh regions. However, this process of earning the confidence of the masses would continue unhindered and there would come a stage when the entire state would walk with BJP. The new government has taken a number of positive measures in the South Asian region raising the hopes of the neighbours for peace and progress. The need is to accelerate this process further.
-Ashutosh Bhatnagar, (The writer is Director, Jammu-Kashmir Study Centre)