OVER 50 KILLED BY BODO MILITANTS IN ASSAM, AGAIN: SHOCKING, HUMILIATING, SICKENING

It was a day of high decibel political events with poll results of Jammu & Kashmir and Jharkhand due. The developments only increased in intensity with rapidly changing numbers that initially gave BJP around 60 seats in 81-member Jharkhand assembly but soon came down to the ‘politically speculative’ zone and kept on hanging there, with no clear winners.

The hung scenario in both the states (with Jharkhand cleared later on giving BJP majority) kept hooked everyone to analyse the situation further on performances, on who will be chief minister, on what will be possible alliances and so on.

Meanwhile, in a remote corner of the country, somewhere near Bhutan border in Assam, armed militants stormed villages, recklessly firing and killing tribal people. We all failed to report it initially as it came, midst the stormy political developments of the day. But as the death toll started rising rapidly, from some 6-7 deaths to over 10, to over 20, to over 30, to over 40, and to over 50 now, from different sources and from social media activity, it was no longer possible to not to come to it, for everyone.

Around 5 PM this evening, militants of the Songbijit faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) started attacking villages in Kokrajhar and Sonitpur districts of Assam. According to the reports, the firing continued till 7-7:30 PM. Latest reports say the death toll has risen to over 50 including many women and children and any final figure can be arrived at only tomorrow.

It happened even after there were warning signals of it. NDFB(S) had warned yesterday against the security forces killing two of its members on Sunday. Also, it is not new to the region of Assam. Ethnic violence in Assam has killed and displaced thousands and is continuing unabated for decades.

It is horrible, shocking, sickening and humiliating on our collective existence. And in such crisis hotspots like these places of India, it keeps on happening, yet we fail to prevent it, yet India fails to keep an effective check, India, the rising major power of the world.

For how long, will we remain in the shackles of political compulsions to confront and eradicate insurgency threats in such places? The approach needs to go beyond political considerations like votebank politics and appeasements and needs merciless, iron-grip control and execution.

Before the parliamentary polls this year, a huge row had erupted after a BJP leader from Assam had claimed that ‘the Songbijit and Ranjan Daimary factions of that NDFB had pledged support to BJP for the Lok Sabha polls’.

The rising death toll and the destruction of human lives, livelihoods and families with every such attack, in Assam, and in every other part of India must cost us heavily and irreversibly as a civilized society.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE NEXT J&K GOVERNMENT?

Government Formation possibilities in Jammu & Kashmir

80 of the 87 assembly seats have been won by four main parties of the quadrangular contest. The largest party PDP has won 28 seats. Second largest party BJP has 25 seats. Outgoing chief minister Omar Abdulla’s National Conference has been able to win 15 seats while Congress, which split up with NC before the elections, could win only 12 seats.

This hung outcome makes the equations with these 7 seats highly interesting as they can make life easier for some possible equations in this scenario. 2 of these seats are with Sajjad Lone’s People Conference (PC) that will go with BJP. 2 of these seats are NC supported independent candidates out of total 3 independent winners. The other two seats are shared by Communist Party of India (Marxist) (1) and People Democratic Front (Secular) (1).

Now, with these numbers, what can be the possibilities of government formation in Jammu & Kashmir (going with the dictum that there are no permanent friends or foes in politics):

PDP + BJP = 28 + 25 = 53
Comfortably above majority requirement of 44 seats – with 2 members of Sajjad Lone’s PC, the alliance will be 55-member strong – going by the reports, back-channel talks are on, as indicated by the hints dropped by BJP and PDP spokespersons and other leaders – PDP would like to give this possibility the maximum preference as a friendly government in Delhi would make life much easier for the incoming state government

PDP + NC + Congress + NC supported Independents = 28 + 15 + 12 + 2 = 57
This one also makes for a stable equation in the number-game and going by the ‘secular Vs communal’ discourse, these three parties can come together to form the government

PDP + NC + NC supported Independents = 28 + 15 + 2 = 45
A majority of just one seat – can scout for one more independent and CPI(M) and PDP(S) winners taking the tally to 48 but that will be a cumbersome task and the majority obtained thus would be wafer thin, prone to manipulations

BJP + NC + PC + NC supported Independents = 25 + 15 + 2 + 2 = 44
Counting Omar’s options to join BJP in, now, this is an unacceptable majority number – just on the mark – even with managing seats of CPI(M), PDP(S) and one independent, (3 in all), the 47-member strong coalition would be a tricky alternative

Are there other combinations possible folks?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WHAT IF BJP FAILS TO PERFORM IN KASHMIR VALLEY WHILE WINNING OTHER AREAS OF THE STATE?

THE QUESTIONS

1. What if BJP emerges close second to PDP in the final poll outcome, will it be ‘BJP+PDP’ from ‘BJP Vs PDP’ or ‘PDP+Congress’ or PDP with any other combination?

2. In case of no clear numbers, what options BJP would be left with? Congress and National Conference won’t come and BJP won’t go with them. PDP is hinting of going along with BJP but that would mean BJP putting its ideological issues like its stand on Article 370 to back seat for an infinite period in the foreseeable future. Given the fact that Narendra Modi didn’t mention the issue even once while campaigning in the state, it should not be a problem area for BJP. In return, PDP may leave its ‘remove AFSPA’ demand under an agreed framework. 

3. But would people of the Valley, the electorate there, would accept this, given the poll outcome from the J&K region, that has totally rejected BJP one again?

4. Wouldn’t it be PDP betraying the Valley electorate? Won’t they prefer ‘PDP+Congress’ or even ‘PDP+NC’ than ‘PDP+BJP’? 

5. Also, should BJP sacrifice its ideology on Article 370 that is certainly not on the communal lines here, to join the government in J&K?

6. Would RSS allow that? How important a factor RSS will be when it comes to this?

7. Will it not prove again that BJP has failed to win the confidence of Muslims once again, a must for the democratic fabric of the country, in spite of all its claims?

8. Performing badly in Muslim-dominating region of the state – has the ongoing controversy surrounding religious conversions and the incessant pushing of the Hindu Nation/Nationalism agenda are to blame?

9. Isn’t it, again, a warning for Narendra Modi to rein in the radical/fundamentalist voices? More than anything else, it is his promise, and his legacy that it is going to be, that are at stake. The unexpected clear majority to BJP was in fact clear majority to the ‘prime minister’ Narendra Modi.

10. Would it work further to dent/undermine the Modi Wave/Modi Factor nationally?

11. Or BJP emerging a close second, an unparalleled performance by the party given its past record in the state, would it further consolidate the Modi Wave/Modi Factor?

12. The hung outcome with a clear Jammu Vs Kashmir outcome – wouldn’t it again add fuel to the fire to the debates of dividing Jammu & Kashmir into Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh given the fact the ethically different regions have been performing differently, electorally, politically, consistently?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE TALKING POINTS ON J&K POLL OUTCONE(S), TILL THE RESULTS COME

THE QUESTIONS

The most talked-about talking point in the J&K assembly election has been about BJP’s prospects after its ‘much’ better than expected Lok Sabha poll performance, it’s almost clean sweep in Uttar Pradesh, it’s spectacular show in Haryana, it’s victory as the senior partner in the Maharashtra government and it’s Narendra Modi Wave/Factor.

The outcomes, before the outcomes finally come, are being seen and discussed mainly from this angle – how well BJP does – by all the stakeholders involved – from society, from polity, from advocacy, from media.

The central themes of these discourses are:

1. What if BJP performs poorly, left with what it has had so far in the state, or even worse?

2. What if BJP performs well only in the non-Muslim areas of the state?

3. What if BJP still fails to open its account in the Muslim dominated Kashmir Valley?

4. What if BJP wins numbers, even if not the majority numbers, numbers that give it the position to manage the numbers to form the government?

5. What if BJP manages the numbers on its own – accomplishing it’s ‘Mission 44+’? 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WHAT IF BJP MANAGES NUMBERS TO FORM GOVERNMENT IN J&K OR EMERGES AS THE MAIN POLITICAL OPPOSITION?

THE QUESTIONS

1. What if BJP emerges with numbers to form the government in Jammu & Kashmir?

2. If it indeed happens, will it be another testimony to the Modi Wave/Modi Factor?

3. What will/should matter more for BJP – the final outcome or the way to final outcome? Even if it emerges as the second largest party as the exit polls project, it is expected to have numbers to manage the numbers to form the government in the state.

4. What if BJP wins numbers on its own? Will it follow what it has been saying – on Article 370 and other important issues related to the state?

5. Or, will it be forced to continue with the stand that it had to adopt before approaching the elections – putting on hold, looking to ensure the ground first – with fears of civil unrest in the Valley?

6. What will happen to the BJP agenda on Article 370 if it forms a government in coalition with other stakeholders in the state?

7. Can this ‘ideological’ issue for BJP take back seat given the fact that Narendra Modi and the Union Government have failed, so far, in containing the provocative remarks and acts of Hindu nationalism by RSS, its affiliates and some BJP members.

8. What if BJP is not able to form the government but registers a fascinating show by emerging as the second largest party in J&K, an allegedly communal party with Hindu Nationalism elements in the only Muslim state of India, wouldn’t it be a big achievement for such a party even if it scores a handsome second place that doesn’t allow it to form the government, given the fact that it will be doing so at the cost of one mainstream J&K party (National Conference, in government now) and Congress, the national party and a big political force in J&K so far?

9. BJP winning or becoming the main political opposition – will it alter the political discourse in India?

10. How will it alter the political discourse in India – has it the potential to rewrite the ‘secular Vs Communal’ discourse in Indian polity?

11. BJP winning or becoming the main political opposition – if it happens so, will it result in increased acceptability for BJP giving it the makeover of being a national party with presence across India and across religions?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/