BJP targeting Article 370

The four-phase state assembly election in the Indian-held Kashmir has thrown up a hung house, setting off once again the game of musical chairs for the chief ministership. None of the contesting parties had expected an absolute majority in the 87-seats chamber, and was not shocked by the fractious election results – except for Narendra Modi’s BJP. The Hinduism revivalist party had invested its best possible capital to win this election – Prime Minister Modi visited the occupied territory a number of times to muster support for his 44-plus mission. But that magical number 44-plus remains elusive. No doubt with 25 seats won in the new state assembly, the BJP has its number almost doubled, but it is not the Muslim vote that has boosted its tally; in fact these are mostly the same very Hindu-majority constituencies in Jammu region earlier won by the Congress. To win majority vote and form government in Occupied Kashmir on its own has been the long-cherished dream of the BJP hierarchy. But this can only come true if Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which concedes a special status to the occupied Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir is repealed or amended by the Indian parliament, but only if it is endorsed by the IHK assembly. The Kashmiris have said a loud “no” and thus a deep burial given to the insidious game plan by walking up to the polling booths in large numbers. No doubt the 65percent turnout was the highest for the recent years, but so was the response to the call upon the Kashmiri voters to defeat the BJP’s 44-plus mission, and not ‘rejection of separatists’ in the Occupied Kashmir as a section of chauvinistic media in India would like to project. Let the father of love-child of 44-plus mission Amit Shah congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his ‘work and people’s love for him’ in IHK where voters ‘endorsed Modi’s style of governance’. But what about India’s north-eastern state of Assam where secessionist fighters carried out a bloody massacre. For too long the Bodo residents of the state have accused New Delhi of plundering its natural resources as if it is a colony.

So, as the mission 44-plus takes the backseat, Modi’s BJP is now out on the street jockeying for power as a coalition partner with any other winning party. Amit Shah says his party is open to all options – “taking support, lending support or participating in government”. But Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP, with highest number of seats–28– in the bag, is in no great hurry even when the BJP is prepared to offer ‘rotational’ chief ministership. Maybe, the PDP decides to take BJP on board but only if Prime Minister Modi announces a ‘moratorium’ on his 44-plus mission. The PDP leadership is also unhappy over the growing incidence of religion-conversions in mainland India where the so-called ‘pervertan’ (coming back to the fold) engineered by the BJP chauvinists is being promoted. As of now she is also non-responsive to Omar Abdullah’s wish to receive a call from her. The National Conference’s (NC) 15 seats in hand and an offer of support from six or so of the Independents in their pocket, the former chief minister too is in the field. The upcoming government in Occupied Kashmir can be any combo of power-seekers – it can be PDP+BJP, PDP+Congress+Independents, or BJP+NC – but a clear possibility is that there would be no threat to New Delhi’s occupational role in the Occupied Kashmir. But that said the possibility has emerged that the BJP will have greater say in running the affairs of this Muslim majority state. Six months on, the Modi government has shed its pro-development visage and is back on what it had done in Gujarat when he was the chief minister. What awaits the Muslim population in India, including the held-Kashmir; the Washington Post has flashed an expected sampling. In Narendra Modi’s cabinet 19 positions are filled by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that preaches Hindu nationalism and, of which Modi is a lifelong partner. In a recent statement, one of them argued that ‘there are two kinds of Indians: children of Lord Rama (Hindus) and bastards (Muslims and Christians). Another one, this time Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, has pleaded that Bhaghvad Gita be declared the “national scripture” of India. The less said for the fate of Kashmiris in the occupied land where BJP has arrived to call the shots, the better.