Jammu & Kashmir: The Political Tale Of Four Former Chief Ministers

16 January 2015
The Economic Times
Masood Hussain

Srinagar: J&K has four former chief ministers fighting different battles at the moment. In London, National Conference's Farooq Abdullah is readying for another surgery. In New Delhi, Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad is trying to save his political career, trying to secure a Rajya Sabha berth. PDP's Mufti Sayeed is engaged in mindgames in Srinagar, keen to takeover as CM, while Omar Abdullah is playing intelligently to ensure that PDP doesn't assume power easily. The costs are comparatively higher for Azad, whose membership to the Rajya Sabha has almost expired. Having only 12 seats in J&K Assembly, it is not easy for Congress to get him elected. The party is not keen to ally with PDP, though initially it showed some interest. Congress president Sonia Gandhi had called Mufti Sayeed and later Dr Manmohan Singh had followed it up. But when PDP flew its men to Delhi, it found that Congress had closed its window. It remains to be seen how Omar would help Azad, since the two leaders have been engaged in personal attacks against each other during campaigning. Farooq Abdullah, who has helped Azad in the past, went to London for a kidney transplant during the polls. Mufti wants to take power and Omar is keen to make it uneasy for him. Given BJP's Kashmir agenda, the possible alliance is a cause of concern for PDP. NC is contributing to this debate and creating a perception of an ideological sell-out, an issue that has the potential to damage PDP in the long run. Knowing well that PDP would neither disrespect the Jammu mandate nor align with its arch-rival, NC is getting innovative in getting the best of it. This is the reason behind the outside support promised to PDP.