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Coalition breeding cynicism
Venomous mutual hatred between NC & Cong coupled with clashing ambitions in both camps have created a vicious circle
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Mutual relationship between the ruling coalition partners, National Conference and Congress, is getting more and more bitter with each passing day. Heightening tone of mutual acrimony reveals diverse pulls and pressures of the next assembly elections in the state due in 2014. Opinions on some of the politically sensitive issues show growing divergence and, at times, open conflict of interest. Bitterness is evident in the sharp personal attacks being made by the ‘partners’ to expose each other.

The latest instance was that of the PCC president Saifud Din Soz making critical observations about the state of civic affairs pertaining to the capital city of Srinagar. The NC considers Srinagar city as its exclusive preserve and does not tolerate ‘interference’ from any quarter. More specifically, law minister Ali Mohammad Sagar, representing Khanyar constituency, has been conducting himself as being the unchallengeable master of city’s affairs. Official mass media bends over backwards to buttress Sagar’s projection with repetitive publicity of his visits to various projects and sites. Pricked by the PCC chief’s ‘unwarranted intrusion’, Sagar taunted Soz for latter’s critical observation. In a rebuttal, Sagar sought to make light of Soz’s visit to the downtown localities: ‘Soz Saheb has not been to the downtown more than twice (during the coalition’s nearly 5-year rule). What does he know about what was happening here?’ This, more or less, has been the pattern of attack and counter attack between the two sides. Issues of public importance raised by one, usually to pin down the other, are mixed with personal criticism down to slandering.

One needs to only recall some of choicest terms used in the recent past by NC’s Dr Mustafa Kamal vis-a-vis the Congress. Sum and substance of Dr Kamal’s statements is that the Congress and ‘New Delhi’ have and will continue to be ‘treacherous and untrustworthy’. If anything, it is hard to find areas of agreement between the two sides beyond their solitary common greed to stick to power at any cost. The political cost of the coalition’s congenital incompatibility is beginning to hurt both the parties. It is to neutralise its impact that the NC and the Congress feel obliged to talk at each other instead of talking to each other. Total impotence of their co-ordination committee is a telling proof.

The problem is that the rottenness at the top is becoming a breeding ground for political cynicism on the ground. There is more disillusionment today than what it was in 2009 when Omar Abdullah took charge of the NC-Congress coalition government. Unhealthy relationship between the partners, fuelled by lurking suspicions of their past, has compounded the mess created by unprecedented misgovernance. In a state like Jammu and Kashmir this kind of permissiveness is unaffordable. Yet if it is being tolerated the only inference is that the powers that be are only interested in keeping up the facade of an ‘arrangement’ without caring for its sickening consequences.

The disease is tending to become malignant in the sense that personal aggrandisement is getting the better of the judgement of important functionaries within the same organisation. Factionalism in the Congress, however, is more visible though it is viciously present in the NC too. Rival groups within the PCC led by Soz and Ghulam Nabi Azad leave nothing to imagination when it comes to sharing the perception of each other. For all practical purposes the two factions are running in opposite directions. NC’s Rajya Sabha MP Ghulam Nabi Rattanpuri continues to provide a keyhole view of what was happening in the state’s oldest political organisation. Knowledgeable people are also aware of the fact that the generation gap within the NC is becoming wider. The older order, largely indentified with Dr Farooq Abdullah, is getting isolated as the ‘new order’, symbolised by Omar Abdullah’s stormtroopers foisted upon the organisation, elbows forward.

Political disillusionment bordering on cynicism is the last thing this state can afford. And yet that is what the coalition is ‘gifting’ to the state and its people. This state of affairs has sinister consequences with implications going far beyond the political/electoral fortunes of this or that party. It is now up to those whose concern it is to act and stem the rot. Consequences of inaction are indelibly written in the recent history of past five years.

News Updated at : Monday, July 15, 2013
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