RAJ DALUJA
Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and the former Union Home Minister, is one of the shrewdest and seasoned politician of the country. He is unlike old Congress hawk Digvijay Singh or gen-next leaders like Manish Tewari and company, whose negative politics made Narendra Modi a hero and most popular leader of the country, who ultimately washed away India’s oldest nearly 68 years party Congress. Mufti is unlike Mustafa Kamal and Omar Abdullah, who vomited venom every now and then against Congress by virtue of which National Conference ruled the State for six years. The vague uttering by the Congress against National Conference did not help any of the two coalition partners of the previous government and instead of being benefitted both got humiliated in the recently held elections and National Conference got minimum seats and Congress too could not do well. Mufti is not like Modi either, whose uncharitable words made Arvind Kejriwal a hero and a political heavyweight, which in the process manifested in the washing away of BJP from Delhi and led Aam Aadmi Party to unprecedented victory and the Delhi throne.
Mufti Mohd Sayeed is a seasoned politician, who knows what to speak; when to speak and where to speak. His statement immediately after the oath ceremony opened a Pandora Box . The media went into tizzy and a national debate erupted in television chat rooms with analysts and anchors almost showing the signs of hysteria. This was a well-timed statement by the new Chief Minister who knew aligning with BJP will cause irritation in Kashmir. To combat such a reaction, which had all the potential to embarrass the new government, the Mufti succeeded in dousing the fire. This is akin to his political maturity which the nation has witnessed during the past two and half decades of militancy in Kashmir.
Mufti Sayeed has never uttered a word about the abduction and subsequent release of his daughter Rubaya Sayeed in December 1989. Release of five hardcore terrorists in lieu of her release entailed widespread criticism across the country and even became a theme for several Bollywood movies. He showed similar calm when the Kashmir Valley witnessed horrendous floods in September 2014. This was the time when ‘young and dynamic’ Chief Minister was seen on the small screen dropping breads from helicopter, ignoring the fact that more than 90 per cent of this feed submerged in the inundated flood hit areas. Mufti showed resilience even as the Prime Minister kept visiting the Valley, forgetting that he was Chief Executive of a vast nation and not Prime Minister of the Valley. Narendra Modi’s false and vague assurances got exposed in just a few weeks after the natural calamity, but with no comments from Mufti. The dare devil daylight plunder of merchandise by JKLF supremo Yasin Malik or Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s unsavory remarks against the helping Indian Army jawans and officers did not attract any reaction from Mufti Sayed.
Mufti showed immense degree of statesmanship by not reacting to the poll outcome in December last. He did not rush to manufacture alliances for forming the government being the Patron of a party which bagged largest number of seats in the fractured mandate given by the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. He even ignored the overtures of the power hungry BJP who offered their support to PDP even when the results were pouring in and everyone was waiting for the final poll outcome. BJP emerged as largest party in the Jammu region by getting lion’s share in the assembly seats due to its high voltage electioneering against opponents, especially the PDP. Forgetting all this criticism or offering ministerial berth to Muzaffar Hussain Beig, Member Parliament, at the Centre, the BJP shamelessly took an initiative to reach out to Muftis.
Even the offer of unconditional support by Congress and National Conference could not move the Mufti. He behaved king-size by leaving all ‘political stalwarts and heavy weights’ on tenter-hooks. Finally, he accepted the request, and not the offer, of the BJP at his own terms and conditions, and successfully changed the political landscape on Jammu and Kashmir turf.
Full six years tenure as Chief Ministers and the Agenda of the Alliance reached between PDP and BJP reflects the upmanship and political stature of Mufti Sayeed, which left the mighty BJP as a political dwarf. The resumption of talks with Pakistan despite the cowardly threats of national leaders about no talks also vindicates Mufti. He never flaunted over all this in the media.
Now it is a million dollar question why a shrewd politician like Mufti Sayeed should say what he said soon after the oath taking ceremony and not before that. This is a clear signal for the power hungry BJP to behave and act as per his wishes. Mufti has established himself as ‘Big Boss’ in political spectrum of Jammu and Kashmir. He has also send a clear signal to militants and other hardliners and separatists of the Valley that he is their real sympathizer. It is a subtle advise to all of them to maintain peace during his regime. Mufti has killed many birds with one stone. While his statement is a message for BJP; it is certainly a assurance to his constituency in the Valley that if the BJP does not behave as per his wishes, he will not miss a split second to dump them off and return back to the politics of Kashmir. In that case, he will certainly place himself in a good stead to tell the Valley constituents and voters at large that he had endeavored his best to ensure their welfare and satiate their political aspirations but for the majority his party lacked. He will comfortably shift the blame to opponents for becoming road block in his mission. In the process when fresh elections will be held the target of Mufti will be Mission 44 for which BJP had been hankering. The fresh elections after a couple of months will definitely deliver seats to Mufti. He will certainly deprive the Congress and the National Conference whatever is left in their kitty at present. A few seats from Jammu Province and Leh regions will also help Mufti to achieve his Mission + 44.