There have been repeated demands from the Jammu region particularly from the large Hindu community that a Hindu should become the chief minister of the state. And they now assert that if Haryana could have a Punjabi as a Chief Minister for the first time since it came into existence why Jammu and Kashmir can not see a chief minister from the minority community in the state (Hindus are a minority in J&K though the government does not give them that status). It is also being argued that if a Muslim can be the President of India, and they can head states across the country then what is the reason that Jammuite or a Hindu cant be the CM of the state. While the people are asking this questions with emotions, experts who calculate the chances of this happening with cold logic suggest that basic reason for domination of Kashmir, and it’s Muslim leadership over Jammu and Ladakh is that there is excessive share of Legislative seats which have been given to the Valley by design to ensure that rest of the areas remain as subjects.
Simple mathematics tells that when Kashmir valley which is homogenously Muslim elects 46 MLAs versus Jammu which elects 37 MLAs there is no question that it will dominate the political, social and economic discourse of the state. It was the Congress leadership at the Centre lead by our esteemed Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru which allowed the Kashmiris to cleverly get far more seats then their numbers or area deserved. And repeated delimitation exercises after that have ensured that dominance of Kashmir is strengthened, and voice of the people of Jammu and Ladakh is throttled. The weak and supine leadership from Jammu region which has preferred to toe the line of the dominant Kashmir politics has not helped the cause of this region as well. with lesser number of MLAs, the say of the people of Jammu is far less in matters of legislation, governance, and allocation of resources.
Figures released by the Election Commission of India reveal that Jammu and Kashmir has total 72,25,559 voters. Out of this Kashmir has 37,53, 195 voters and Jammu has 33,11,438 voters while Ladakh has 1,60,926 voters. Jammu also has a large number of migrants of West Pakistan who have voting rights for Lok Sabha but they are not state subjects. However, if a comparison of two regions is done then it is clear that by merely having 1.5 lakh more votes Kashmir Valley has additional 11 seats as compared to Jammu. Not only this Jammu and Ladakh are several times bigger than Kashmir valley in terms of land area, and geography but despite that these regions have been given step-motherly treatment just to keep the people of Kashmir happy, and to keep them in power at the cost of democracy.
Experts opine that this situation is going to remain unchanged till there is an acceptance at the highest level of Indian government that Jammu and Ladakh should also get their share in the political set up of the state. Instead of allowing the Jammu province into various sub-regions on communal lines the need is to empower Jammu and Ladakh. Unless this happens a Hindu CM from Jammu will remain a pipe dream.
PIC Courtesy: Online Media Sources (File Photo)