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Root of misgovernance
NC and Congress are linked by congenital mutual bad faith
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Thanks to Dr Mustafa Kamal, the opportunistic alliance between the National Conference and the Congress is once again into public focus for the wrong reason. True to his grain, Dr Kamal, during his visit to Doda district, has recalled the long history of betrayal suffered by the National Conference at the hands of the Congress and its successive governments in New Delhi. Making a fine distinction between variants of this betrayal he described union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad as ‘sweet poison’ and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as ‘bitter poison’. Dr Kamal justified NC’s decision to still befriend the Congress on the ground that the former wanted to ‘save’ the state from being ‘ravaged’ by the Cong-PDP alliance. He came down heavily upon government of India over its ‘inimical’ attitude towards Jammu and Kashmir and alleged that New Delhi had become an obstruction in normalising the ground situation in J&K as well as in promoting bilateral relationship with Pakistan.

Whatever the merit or demerit of his utterances, coming as it does from the re-appointed spokesperson of the NC, it would not be correct to dismiss it summarily. On earlier similar occasions when things got too hot for them, Dr Kamal’s family members, Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, sought to play down his utterances suggesting as if their kin was suffering from waywardness or disorientation. Dr Kamal was unceremoniously taken off from his position to save the throne for their dynasty.

As the dust settled down, Dr Kamal was quietly restored to his position as the NC additional general secretary as well as its spokesperson. To be fair to him, Dr Kamal did not change his tone and tenor at any time and continued to fire from the hip. Now that he has commenced his second term from where he had left in his first term there is no doubt that the NC leadership has again found the need to have him in place. Some in the Congress suspect that there was method in the (NC’s) madness in firing the man when things became too hot and hiring him soon after to resume his ‘mission’.

Leaving aside the question of how the NC and the Congress deal with each other, the state has been subjected to the worst kind of misgovernance under this coalition. The coalition government is internally divided, along party and regional lines, with the result that the administrative machinery down below has been functioning along parallel—often mutually contradictory—lines. In the latest instance, the NC and the Congress are locked in head on collision over the issue of panchayati raj system. The result is that the initiative generated by the panchayat elections has virtually died down and elected representatives have been pushed into unseemly spectacle. Similarly, on the issue of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) the NC and the Congress are opposed to each other. Congress ministers in the coalition make no secret of their disregard for the authority and prerogative of the chief minister even as they enjoy unconcealed backing of their masters in New Delhi.

The manner in which the issue of ‘restoration’ of the education and public works portfolios to the Congress is being debated in public makes mockery of the chief minister’s constitutional prerogative. Instead of functioning as a team, the coalition ‘partners’ appear as mutually warring clans belonging to two dynasties with a huge historical baggage. Dr Kamal’s latest outburst against the Congress and its government in New Delhi shows that the disease afflicting the coalition is not curable because it is rooted in its congenital deformity.
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News Updated at : Tuesday, November 13, 2012
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