The Way Forward In Kashmir

4 mins read

Asem Mohiuddin

The twin states of Maharshtra and Haryana in India went for polls on Monday. At both the states the BJP is in power and made Article 370 as major poll plank to retain the thrones. BJP’s aggressive political posturing against Congress and other parties has pushed the latter to the wall. Narendra Modi’s party which underlined Kashmir’s problem with the existence of the special provisions of state under the contentious Article roared across the twin states and challenged Congress to bring back the special position of state. In fact the rigorous campaigning on Article 370 favoured the wave towards party.

When Modi addressed his first political rally in Jalgaon constituency of Maharashtra, he imprinted Article 370’s abrogation achievement of his government which according him no other party could do for last seventy years.  “I challenge the opposition parties to bring back the Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir that was revoked by Modi government. Let them make it a point in its party manifesto. Otherwise, let them stop shedding crocodile tears,” Modi vehemently targeted the Congress.

While BJP in the manifesto of 2018 Lok Sabha elections had reiterated its position and assured its people to nullify the special position of border state,  the Congress had assured to retain the same provisions for Jammu and Kashmir in its manifesto and faced the massive defeat for second consecutive term. The aggressive campaigning by the BJP and brandishing Congress as pro separatists, pro Pakistan party owing to its political position of backing the Article 370 forced party to nuance its position.

“We were against the highhanded manner in which the article was revoked unilaterally and in a brazen manner,” former Prime Minister and Congress stalwart Manmohan Singh told reporters in Mumbai. “The Article was a temporary provision.”

Singh’s shift from his core policy seems a strategic move given to a political wave in BJP’s favour in Maharashtra where the poll campaigning was dominated by BJP on the same issue. However, the move suggests complete lack of clarity in the Congress camp despite being the oldest political party.

The Party’s poor political understanding and timely management of issues instead addressing them at grassroots stand nowhere when it comes to ideologically driven BJP.  BJP even in the opposition for most of the times never changed its position and always stood by what its founding leaders stood for including Shama Prasad Mukherjee who raised the voices in and outside parliament against any special treatment to Jammu and Kashmir.

While Congress seems on back foot and pollsters hoping for no immediate return of Congress in the Race Course in New Delhi, BJP on the other side successfully percolated its national agenda in local politics. Normally, the anticipation of political observers in Maharashtra and Haryana was that local issues may dominate the poll campaign but BJP sold out the achievements of National stratum. Mingling the local issues with national agenda by the BJP may secure its political power but can it really make the changes what people aspire. From here this will be the tough question that BJP in centre have to face.  Modi regained the power with more strength given to its government’s clean track record and no scams and corruption charges though its decision of demonetisation in first term undermined the country’s economy. The inflation, massive scams and the poor governance is what has actually shown the exit door for Congress in 2015 though people elected the party twice till 2014.

Article 370 carries a sentiment of patriotism and Nationalism in India which BJP has successfully built over the years. But it does not hold the panacea to the existing economic woes raised out of recent economic meltdown. Though the BJP is refusing to acknowledge any economic crisis in country, the credible indicators revealed by the officials and subsequently reported in media projects the situation worrisome.

What BJP shall work out?

Stabilize economy

On last Monday the World Bank has slashed the India’s projected growth rate from 7.5 per cent to 6 per cent for the fiscal year of 2019-20. Initially, the growth rate by the WB was expected to grow at 7.5 per cent. The economic slum down in the country seems regular feature since last six months after Factory Output reported 1.1 per cent reduction in two years. Weak IIP contraction suggests the weak climate for investment besides poor consumer demand. Even the insured deposits have witnessed the steep low in 11 years from 60 to 28 per cent. The automobile industry is the worst hit of the prevailing economic downturn. This is where the Modi government requires engaging itself more and delivering on the promises of offering jobs, building the sustainable economy.

After China in South Asia, India is the biggest economic power house and world has its eyes set on it. Modi government’s promise to build the economy by 2030 of 5 trillion dollars demands a massive workout to plug the failures. If India makes its economy to 5 trillion dollars by 2030 from the existing 2.8 trillion dollars, it would still be lagging far behind China’s 14 trillion dollar economy which is expected to have considerable rise in coming times.

Naga Peace accord

On the political front, the Modi government was almost close to sign a deal with National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCM-IM) in North East. The reports are suggesting that Modi government after abrogating Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir has set a three months deadline to resolve the issue. The scramble of Naga came up when the governor of Nagaland RN Ravi disclosed on August 17 and said he was given three months task by Modi government to finish the talks. Modi’s team is presuming Naga conflict the last one prevailing in country after it nullified the Article 370 and termed Kashmir’s complete merger with country. The separate flag and constitution of Jammu and Kashmir were removed after centre’s move of stripping state of special status. Naga problem is by and large the same one. They demand separate constitution, separate flag and enjoys considerable autonomy.

After Modi government unilaterally revoked the Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir that was guaranteeing a considerable amount of autonomy to state with separate flag and separate constitution, the north eastern states went tizzy especially Nagaland.  In the last few weeks, many statements from the NSCM-IM appeared in media rejecting any accord with Union government that sans a degree of autonomy with separate flag and constitution. An aggressive statement from the NSCM-IM that was released to media after the article 370 was abrogated reads, “Nagas will not merge with the Union of India. We will not accept Indian constitution but Nagas and Indians will share sovereign powers based on competencies.” The statement was followed by another one on August 24 which reads that an honourable accord demands acceptance of the Naga national flag and constitution and the talks that sans integration of all the contiguous Naga areas will be a futile exercise. After August 5 NSCM-IM considerably puts the pressure on New Delhi fearing its demands are unlikely to meet. This is putting the BJP in litmus test and how it vets the deal in Nagaland and settles the matter once for all.

Article 370 abrogation may push the centre into buffer zone but may not retain the solid rock beneath its feet for future elections. Congress too held the throne for two terms before it was shown its place by people and that the BJP shall not overlook.

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