The manner in which 2014 assembly elections have led to regional polarization which is aligned on religious and ethnic lines points to the sharp divisions which are inherent in the politics, and the minds of the people. And if politicians, and civil society groups are not able to rise above these differences, and accept the diversity of thought, opinion, and aspirations in the state it could be hurtling towards disaster, and disintegration. Jammu and Kashmir has stood like a wall against Chinese and Pakistani aggression, and has been an example of unity in diversity. But if one section of population is not ready to share power, and resources with the rest of the state then it will lead to the inevitable. Even the most hardcore politicians are today ready to accept in private that the 2014 verdict means that power has to be shared with people of Jammu and Ladakh. The people of this region having become tired of the dominance and machinations of the regional parties, and even the Congress to a great extent which pandered to the interests of Kashmir despite getting votes, and seats from Jammu.
BJP has dominated the Jammu region with 25 seats, and it has wiped out the other parties, and this mandate is being described by political watchers a call for separation from the dominant Kashmir Valley. Ladakh also ensured the victory of 3 Congress candidates because the party had promised Union Territory status to the people. The manner in which three different regions of Jammu and Kashmir voted for three different parties, and thereafter the wayward ways of Kashmiri politicians who don’t want to share power with Jammu, and Ladakh is being seen as a message that these regions can’t come together on equal terms. Jammu and Ladakh will have to accept the suzrainty of Valley if any government has to be formed in the state. The machinations of the National Conference, and the pronouncements by separatist leadership has further sharpened the differences between the two regions. The political establishment in Kashmir is shocked that BJP would be able to form government for the first time in the state, and this would ensure that people of Jammu would also get a fair share in power. The PDP, and NC both Kashmir based parties can form the government but it would also mean negation of the democratic process which has just voted out the latter for non-performance. It would also lead to deep fissures between Kashmir, and Jammu and this could lead to demands for a separate state of Jammu. It now depends upon the PDP to take the logical step forward, and join hands with BJP if it does not want political instability in the state to continue.
The Kashmir based political parties will also have to realize the grim problems being faced by the West Pakistan refugees, and instead of taking shortsighted stand should accept the righful demands of the large population. The opposition of all those who matter in Kashmir to recommendations by the Parliamentary Committee has once again sent the message that Kashmiri politicians are not willing to do anything concerning the people of Jammu, and particularly if they are Hindus. In a secular nation, and even in this state this kind of narrow, parochial politics will lead us to disaster in the long run. And if this continues for long then it is likely that writ of the Kashmiri rulers will run from Srinagar to Jawahar Tunnel alone, and not outside the Valley.