IMPORTANT QUESTIONS AFTER J&K VERDICT THROWS A HUNG ASSEMBLY

THE QUESTIONS

1. As projected, the hung assembly is here. The difference is, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are close number 2 and number 1, respectively. And both parties are under 30 – BJP(25), PDP (28) – as per the trends and results as of now. Who is the real king here?

2. Though PDP is 3 seats more than BJP, the swing for BJP is of 14 seats from its 2008 tally of 11 that is just double of 7 seats that PDP scored more this time. But the overall vote share of BJP, 23%, is more than PDP’s 22.5%. Also, when seen comparatively for the vote % in 2008 J&K assembly polls, the BJP gain is huge and unprecedented for party’s electoral history in the state. BJP’s vote % of 12.5% jumped to 23% (~11%) while the comparative increase in PDP’s vote % has been moderate, 15.4% to 22.5% (~7%). Doesn’t this make BJP the real winner of BJP’s assembly polls, irrespective of whether they join with ‘someone’ to form the government or sit in the opposition?

3. National Conference (NC) is third with 15 seats but Omar Abdullah, the outgoing chief minister who lost one of the two seats contested and could win one with slim numbers, has come out and said he is satisfied with the outcome and his ‘political obituary’ is not here yet. He says, after zero in the Lok Sabha polls, his party won 15 seats with two party supported independents and the tally of 17 is a positive development for him. Is this a result of an honest introspection or an immediate reflection to confront the criticism as both Congress and NC combined have just 2 seats more than BJP and BJP, a ‘not-so-relevant’ force so far in the state politics, has taken the space so far occupied by Congress and NC?

4. In the four-cornered fight, Congress is the last, with 12 seats, when it was in alliance with National Conference. Is Congress new BJP of J&K politics – the national party with a ‘fringe’ presence in the state?

5. The mandate is clearly not for NC and Omar Abdullah. An honest introspection should demand the outgoing government and the outgoing chief minister sit in opposition and work the way in for the next assembly polls. Yet, Omar says, as some reports say, he is open to go with PDP if the party approaches, saying if Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar can come together, why can’t PDP and NC. Plain speak Vs political opportunism in quick succession – desperate signs of Omar to handle the day’s developments? Even Omar’s 15 MLAs with PDP’s 28 would not make for the majority mark of 44 or his tally of ’17’ would give only a slim majority of one seat leaving space open for further manipulations to get the numbers (at any cost, that can be said if PDP and NC come together – an act of political opportunism)?

6. Is there possibility of ‘PDP + NC + Congress’ government? After all, there are no permanent friends or foes in politics, a cliché that Indian politicians and political parties follow as dictum.

7. Going by the dictum, can NC come along with BJP (28+15=43) to manage the numbers as both BJP and NC have support of some independents and others like Sajjad Lone that can easily take the ‘coalition’ beyond the ’44’ mark to prove majority in the assembly? ‘

8. Or it has to be about the most plausible combination by the numbers, PDP with BJP? They both make for 53 MLAs (28+25). With 2 MLAs of Sajjad Lone’s People Conference (PC), 55 is a good enough number in the 87-member state assembly to run the government. Leaders of both parties have been hinting about a possible coming-together after the ‘hung’ scenario was thrown out. As Narendra Modi didn’t mention even once the issue of Article 370 while campaigning, BJP and RSS can push it to the back seat and PDP, too, can go along with the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in J&K.

9. Or will it be about the evergreen political discourse of Indian politics – secular Vs communal – PDP + NC + Congress + Independents + other parties – bringing parties and independents against BJP on one platform – especially after BJP’s poor show in Kashmir Valley?

10. BJP has once again failed in the Valley. Except one, all BJP candidates lost their deposits in the Valley. The Muslim dominated region of J&K has rejected BJP and Narendra Modi given the fact Narendra Modi was the face of campaigning, both in Jharkhand and in J&K. Will the Modi Wave/Modi Wave remain a non-Muslim politics phenomenon?

11. How will this performance of BJP in the Kashmir Valley further affect/hurt the BJP chances to become a pan-India party with an acceptability across religions/communities?

12. For the national politics, isn’t the humiliating outcome in the Valley a warning signal for Narendra Modi that he needs to act fast and tough on erring and motormouth leaders making senseless statements on religious conversions, Hindu nationalism and provocative issues like ‘love-jihad’ when the central promise Narendra Modi made while asking for votes was ‘development’?

©/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/