By: Arshad Khan
On the third death anniversary of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, her daughter (Mehbooba Mufti) had nothing but only apologies to offer to the people of J&K. The PDP that her father left in its glory is today dwindling rapidly.
Her apology today for her ‘toffee’ remark will not change anything on ground because that was not the only mistake she did in her reign. Let’s take a look at the reasons that led to PDP’s fall and whether there is a way to come out of this morass she finds the party in.
Traditionally, PDP had been playing the role of buffer between NC- a pro-India party and Separatists. This role of mediator gelled well with people and this party was part of the government in only five years of its formation, in 2003. Since NC and INC failed to counter the alienation and stop bloodshed in Kashmir, that was rampant in the years from 2008 to 2014, people vehemently voted for PDP in 2014 Assembly elections again, more so by the people of South Kashmir that once was bastion of PDP and now hub of militancy.
PDP had asked people to vote for them to keep BJP at distance but backtracked on this very slogan by ending up hugging BJP for government formation. This means the buffer that existed was extinct now. Voters felt alienated and thus took to extreme measures. In absence of genuine democratic space and expression to voices of dissent, the youth were pushed to the wall. It was in this backdrop, the scholars like Dr Rafi, Dr Subzar and Dr Manan chose gun over pen.
If that was not enough, the ex-CM Mehbooba Mufti instead of dozing the fire post Burhan Wani’s killing when the whole valley was caught in turmoil, put the blame on youth categorically. She censured youth by saying that they are responsible for their own death by coming in the line of fire. She went to the extent of questioning the reason they ‘storm’ the security forces’ pickets. This could have been avoided at the juncture and more responsible statements should have been doled, sympathising with the youth and appealing for restraint.
She exacerbated the situation more by singling out negligible five per cent who were angry with the policies assuming the rest ninety-per cent as being happy for her. Little did she know that this may infuriate people further that led to organising mass rallies against the government repression that was order of the day in 2016 after HM commander Burhan Wani’s killing.
Though she survived the scare in 2016 but nothing really changed on ground. Her party legislators didn’t even muster the courage to visit their constituencies. Such was the anger among youth that the MLAs admitted of fearing backlash if they visit their constituencies. She did nothing to ameliorate the situation and appeared to be a mere spectator.
At the internal front, dissent was brewing in the party and came to the fore immediately after BJP withdrew support from the government. The party leaders came out into the open blaming few individuals of hijacking the party. It was alleged that few persons known to be close to Mehbooba Mufti are hostile to party legislators.
What followed thereafter were resignations from the party membership of senior leaders and that continues till date. Mehbooba could do nothing but watch this all haplessly. And then on Mufti Sayeed’s death anniversary, today, states that her party is free from ‘garbage’. Appeals youth to join her party and to strengthen it again. These speeches will do nothing unless she has some work up her sleeve to show. It is time she re-starts from the scratch again and next time when she speaks she has achievements to support her
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