Intro: With the dust settling down on political hobnobbing, posturing and rhetoricing, it is time for the PDP-BJP coalition to do what it is meant to do—execute the thoughtfully chalked out Common Minimum Programme (CMP).
The coming together of what the political pandits termed as an ‘impossible’ alliance was a positive gesture that bespoke of a new age politics that places people’s mandate over party politics and electoral gains. While this is indeed commendable and worth emulation, delivering on tangible performance indicators mentioned in the CMP, will be the real acid test and a true measure of political maturity. In short, it is building on the foundations of “Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat and Jambooriyat, as espoused by the former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee, as the way forward for the State of J&K. While the Jambooriyat part has been met by setting aside stark differences for a more opportune time, it is time to take into cognizance the more serious and pressing issues of governance, growth, inclusion, probity and participation. Let us look at what the CMP has to say on these critical matters.
The CMP mentions in very clear and categorical terms, without mincing any words, that the very purpose of creating this alliance is to cater to the ‘Governance’ Agenda. It states, the alliance is a “ ‘Governance Alliance’ based on an agreement and agenda which is an effort towards seeking a national reconciliation on J&K”. Its primary aim is the ‘creation of an enabling environment for the all-round economic development of the State and its people.’ And how exactly does it seek to do that? Well the CMP has a solution in the form of a prescription – “proactive, transparent and accountable government” that will facilitate business and promote entrepreneurship by easing the archaic norms and nomenclatures that is a grim reminder of the Nehru-Abdullah legacy. The Government will be venturing into unchartered waters by exploring new vistas of growth and development like infrastructure creation, power, IT and revive old ones like tourism and craftsmanship. It is also expected to consolidate on existing strengths and geographical niche products like pashmina, saffron, herbal products and make them globally appealing. Going by the tone and tenor of the CMP, one can even expect innovation in products, processes and packaging in order to make it commercially viable and self-sustaining. For instance one can see a whole new range of tourism circuits being identified and promoted, funds earmarked to build new industries to capitalize on the geographical and regional strengths like Apple Village in Kashmir and Basmati Village in Jammu.
The greatest strength of the CMP, is however, its balanced and non-discriminatory approach, which is a stark and applaudable detour from all previous regimes. The CMP mentions in black and white the “balanced development across all 3 regions of the State” as one of its clearly stated motive. This sentiment is a common thread running across almost all the clauses and initiatives mentioned in the CMP be it setting IT, Biotech, Food and Textile Parks or Power Plants and state-of-the-art institutions like AIIMS & IIT. The equitable distribution of resources and opportunities, will be a historical step in freeing J&K from the myopic mindset of reducing J&K to Kashmir Valley and its needs. This is perhaps the first initiative in carving the much needed and deserving space for Jammu and Ladakh. The CMP not only seeks to bridge the regional disparity at the earliest but is also serious in bringing into the mainstream hitherto ignored communities, cultures and heritages. A micro analysis of the CMP will unequivocally show its seriousness to prepare ground for inclusionary politics, as the mainstay of J&K polity.
As if all the above goodies were not enough, it is worth mentioning here that if the CMP is sincerely followed in letter and spirit, then one can expect some moral reforms as well. An obvious pointer in this direction is the stated resolve to transform J&K from the ‘most corrupt state’ to the ‘most ethical state’ in the country by strengthening institutions of probity. Kudos
Thus to conclude, it can be safely said that if PDP-BJP ‘Agree to Disagree’ on contending issues, put emotive issues on the back burner and leave the historical baggage for history and historians to judge, analyse and articulate, then what can be effectively delivered in the next 6-years is a non-discriminatory, all-inclusive, pro-people era of peace and prosperity in J&K, courtesy CMP.
K Aayushi (The writer is the Director, Research, JKSC, Delhi)