More than a fortnight since the election results in Jammu and Kashmir were announced, Governor’s rule has finally been imposed in the state, one day after Omar Abdullah stepped down as the caretaker chief minister. While the PDP has accused the former chief minister of acting ‘childish’, Abdullah stated that given the situation on the border with Pakistan, a caretaker government would not be able to do justice to the needs of the people. But the PDP has largely maintained a silence over speculations on forming a coalition government with the BJP. Whether the party is buying time to prepare people of the valley to the union, only time will tell. However, everyone will agree that this mandate has put everyone in a fix – political parties in Kashmir and outside, people in the state, separatists and even those who did not vote in the valley. So what is actually holding the political parties back from forming a government? Has the religious undertones that the mandate put forward complicated the situation further? The results of the Assembly Elections has clearly shown that people who came out to vote did so along religious lines. Though the PDP won in the valley, it got only 3 seats outside. The BJP was not successful in its Mission 44 and was restricted to the Jammu division only.The mandate to the parties along religious lines is not something new, but it surely is a dangerous one. In 2008, when the unrest over the Amarnath land row started, the people of Kashmir were not welcome in the Jammu division. Even though the Amarnath yatra went on peacefully, there were reports of people being beaten, drivers being assaulted on highways and students feeling insecure in different colleges during that period. The tangled state of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir has got even more complicated over time and the political parties have also played their role in this. This polarisation is the direct consequence of the well planned ploy of using people as a vote bank. Considering the fallout of such a polarisation, people of the state have to be careful not to fall prey to anything that could have dangerous repercussions. Political issues aside, whether or not the people of Jammu side with the people in the valley on political issues, it should not widen the already fragile bond between the people of this region on religious lines. This would prove to be irreversible not only for the people, but also for the political parties.

Continued – 

The unsettling politics of Jammu and Kashmir