Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is running against time and each time she wants to move forward, she is pulled back by the unforeseen situations . This is typical of this State, one may argue, so why should Mehbooba be seen in a different light .
It is because she has not only to deliver on the promises she has made to the people of the State , but also beat all odds stacks piled against her to save herself from the accusations that she could not live up to her word of “ carrying forward the legacy of ( her father) Mufti Mohammad Sayeed,” to which she had dedicated herself before and after assuming the office of Chief Minister.
Mufti Sayeed’s legacy has assumed an added significance now . J&K is in turmoil – the regional and communal divisions have sharpened , the relations between India and Pakistan are deteriorating and worse of all, there is a mood of depression across the region.
For the current turbulences emanating from J&K or those getting imported from other parts of the country as also from across the border , Mehbooba Mufti is seen as an accused , and the witness box is full of the visible and vociferous opponents from the Opposition and within the allies .
This is her dilemma – to address the allies first, or the opposition . In between she has to deal with the Kashmir issue , which she believes is a political issue , but her alliy BJP don’t agree with that.
Mehbooba Mufti is all by herself . There is no confusion about it . Every one is keen to take advantage of her loneliness and she is fed with unwanted advice at times . As a human being , she errs at times . But admitting mistakes in politics, particularly in Kashmir, is considered a cardinal sin . Even if she wanted to do something , the team of her advisers, better description would be coterie, does not allow her to do that.
She has a very limited time at her disposal . If the current PDP- BJP arrangement continues , she has time till March 2021 to make mends and lay out path of a better future for the State .
Kashmir problem has its own dynamics . This will take its own time to find a solution and for that Mehbooba can just push in her own style in which political aggression and political diplomacy would have to work simultaneously . But, patience is the word.
What she can do immediately and without any pressure is to lift the delivery of services. The health services are no where close to being satisfactory . Education system is better known for its calendar of closure of schools and colleges in response to encounters, killings and shutdown calls by the separatists rather than the will to stand up against the disruptive forces . The rural areas are facing so many deprivations and the once water rich Jammu and Kashmir is staring at water crisis of unprecedented because of virtually snowless winter . Tourists have not packed their bags for summer in Kashmir , they are scared by what they hear, read, watch and the worst enemies of the Valley are not only the TV channels obsessed with their TRP ratings , but the social media warriors who have generated a very negative narrative about the peace loving Kashmir .
When the viewers watch a series of boats forming a bridge across the river for the people to take part in the funeral of militants , the would be tourists change their mind about visiting Kashmir . More than guns and grenades such militant-friendly image of Kashmir takes Kashmir off their itinerary .
She needs to her political colleagues to task make them to work and curb their tendency to earn money under the table. She should follow the path of her father : make bureaucracy to work , rather than give them a free hand in misleading the political narrative . These are alleys. But she needs to break it for fresh light and in the interest of the State. She can do it !