Views from Srinagar
AS the acrimony around the Goods and Services Tax intensified, the Opposition parties unzipped their holsters. To defeat, what they say, the sinister designs aimed to erode what is left of the residual autonomy. They vowed to ‘protect at any cost’ the State’s ‘fiscal autonomy’. They clamored watching in frozen stance at the crucial time may prove a last nail in the coffin of State’s ‘special status’, guaranteed under Article 370 of Indian Constitution. The strong ‘determination’ to retrieve the loss they conveyed not only through the party statements but the pulled up sleeves of defiance as well.
I am stunned on this transmogrification. Of this mouth-to-mouth resuscitation of the fast dying ‘patient’( Autonomy) carried out by the very con artists. Who, in hey days of their power, helped forces inimical to Stat’s individuality denude it of its semi-sovereign status. The very ‘elderly brethren’ who return home after throwing the Joseph in the well and swear by their innocence. We cannot but ‘admire’ them for their mastery in adapting to both ‘hot and cold’ ambience. To compare them with the chameleons is disgraceful for the little creatures. For, while the chameleons do it to deceive their chasing predators, this breed of rare species—we are in the cross hairs of— change colors to bite the very hands that feed them and trust them. We settle on the less derogatory; Errands of Darbar, who sing panegyrics for the six years and vomit it out in the next six years. A club of ‘Honorables’ where it doesn’t take much to turn ‘ hostile witness’. According to the season of melancholy and joy and against both Delhi and Srinagar.
The way ‘one country, one tax regime’ opened the fronts between the NC and PDP—who love to call themselves as regional parties— has no surprising for people of Kashmir. This fake encounters we have been witnessing for the last many decades. What NC is doing at now has not a slender difference in narrative and rhetoric from what PDP was doing in opposition. And vice versa. In fact both the rival parties are acclimatized in their respective domains to play appeasement and ‘widowhood’ dictated by the fortunes of the time. And, as we have seen, they are ‘magnificent’ improvisers. The perfect clones of each other. PDP came to the hustling and it didn’t take her long to lit pyre of its loving ‘self rule’ document. Dusted off that burden, it was but natural for her to strike one more crippling blow at what was left of the internal autonomy it has pledged not only to safeguard but to restore it the 1948 glory.
For being seen ‘different’ from the NC, the PDP said it won’t do anything clandestinely, in blazing sunlight it would and thus created the hype of ‘consensus-building’. But the threatening from Delhi and the statements made by the PDP and BJP stalwarts, delivered much before the convening of the ‘special’ session of assembly, made it clear the die has already been cast. The manta of evolving consensus was just a ruse to cloak the sinister within. Arun Jaitley, finance minister of India, warned of ‘crippling losses’. Jitendra Singh—MOS in PMO—raised his brows: State government has ‘ no other option but to implement the GST in the State’. Haseeb Drabu, finance minister JK, days before the assembly session began declared that ‘JK government is likely to clear the GST by July 6’. What for then was purpose of calling assembly from July 4 to 8? And when the session began on due date, government started with restricting media from free flow of information on the extremely important issue debated in assembly. Though against strong protests and decision of boycotting the assembly by print and electronic media government was forced to cancel the earlier decision, it exposed her nervousness, dragger it wanted to hide.
Consensus is not hammering your choices to unwilling minds, which the PDP with the backing of BJP did on the strength of the majority. It is dispelling the doubts and convincing people of your sincerity and motives. Through accommodation and taking on board the people, trade bodies and civil society the consensus is brought. You hauled along with number, disregarding the sentiment within and outside assembly. Building consensus thus proved a big joke. It again dented the credibility of the assembly, that Mehbooba Mufti calls the ‘most powerful’. That bragging despite NC leader Ali Muhammad Sagar reminding the House how his party’s resolution on autonomy, passed with two-third majority, was thrown to the dust bin! The ‘unprecedented’ the government embarked on was not, as it proved later, to respect public feelings but to cover up its hideousness. It wanted to go for the kill but let not blood stains stick to her apron.
Ever since it courted BJP, the PDP played second fiddle to the former. GST application to the State through presidential order is the latest submission to the ‘do more’ demands to prove loyalty to Nagpur. Yet the surrender is portrayed as an achievement kissed never before. That speaks the ‘boldness’ of publishing the President’s order in leading dailies of the State with some lines red-marked to convey extra ordinary achievables. Abdul Majid Zargar, fellow columnist and friend, has in his article, GST Presidential Order (GK July 10) demystified the false constructs. We need not repeat . We know like NC, PDP too has pheromones. To celebrate the bonhomie! NC did it earlier, PDP does it now. Still they growl on each other. Romans of yore would have been amused by their acrobatics. We thank PDP for providing us with some amusement and entertainment. In the stress inflicted region that is most sought of. Join me in letting out a big laugh. Ha, ha ha…………..
Tail piece: Notwithstanding anything contained in this article, the powers of the State of J&K to reduce Autonomy to husk shall remain intact. That is the spirit of alliance and the precedence PDP is not departing from!