Pink slip for Drabu

Kashmir Times. Dated: 3/13/2018 11:54:17 PM

The episode not only reflects internal disturbances within PDP but also the flawed narrative of political power in J&K

PDP has done well by showing some spine in sacking Haseeb Drabu, who was holding the important finance portfolio in the PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir. After Drabu's controversial remarks that are not only completely detached from ground reality but also not in line with the party's core ideology, PDP had no option but to drop him or face further erosion of the party and public flak. During his speech at a function in Delhi titled Kashmir: The Way Forward, Drabu had said, "Kashmir is not just a political issue but a social problem…I think we have been barking up the wrong tree." Later, following scathing criticism both from outside and within the party, Drabu without retracting from his comments or tendering an apology, chose to say that what he meant was "Kashmir is 'also' a social problem." Such manipulation of words hardly explains the intended faux pas which is appended with the comment of 'barking up the wrong tree'. The emphasis was clearly on negating the political issue. The remarks made at the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) were no ordinary slip of the tongue. The core belief of the PDP is that Kashmir is a political problem and needs to be addressed politically; and it was in this idea that the party's base and foundation was built and its influence enlarged horizontally and vertically from virtually a one man show by its founder Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. The PDP has not only time and again reiterated its stand on the significance of the political component of the Kashmir issue but despite entering into an alliance, which Mufti himself termed as 'meeting of north and south poles', this idea was incorporated predominantly in the Agenda of Alliance that the party patched up during the making of this difficult coalition with a right wing party inimical to the idea of recognizing the political nature of Kashmir conflict. Ironically, Drabu was one of the main people involved in the draft of the Agenda of Alliance. The clear negation of the political nature of the Kashmir issue and its projection as a mere social issue is an attempt to undermine both the Agenda of Alliance and the party's core ideology. Needless to point out that social, economic, health, education as well as law and order related problems that Jammu and Kashmir grapples with today are off-shoots of a political problem that has remained unaddressed for the last over seven decades. For an embarrassed PDP, it was important to dump Drabu and perhaps, the party would internally deal with the question of ousting him completely or keeping him in cold storage for the time being.
However, this drastic step would not help the PDP salvage its decreasing popularity and credibility, the major reason for which lies both in its poor governance and the very formation of the alliance with a party it does not see eye to eye in terms of ideology. The unholy alliance, coupled with the PDP-BJP government's inability to address even the day to day issues of public, has tarnished PDP's image severely. In fact, the ideological differences of the two coalition partners have a severe debilitating impact on the governance and administrative matters, with both sides involved in perpetual tussles and tug of war over the most insignificant of issues. BJP's rise to power at the Centre, followed by the making of this unholy alliance, is seen as a major trigger in fuelling the already volatile situation in the Valley and on the borders, the consequences of which are borne by the people of the state. Whatever, PDP does at this juncture, it may not fully be able to shed the baggage of giving legitimacy to a right wing party in the sensitive state by entering into an alliance with it. Whether or not there was method in this madness and whether or not Drabu, who was contemptuously dubbed by many as 'Nagpur man in PDP' was getting his dictates from elsewhere, the episode once again exposes the flawed circuit of power which makes it imperative for leaders, with strong grassroots connect or those like Drabu without any solid grounding among the masses, to be seen on the right side of New Delhi, rather than its electoral base. History of Jammu and Kashmir post-1947 is replete with such examples. This exposes the fragility of not just the present PDP-BJP alliance but also the very political landscape of state, which is already too complex and delicate to be imposed with such rash recklessness.



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