The never ending drama of government formation in Jammu and Kashmir has gained more heat now that the Army has stepped in to express its concern that revolves around the complete revocation or the dilution of AFSPA. The PDP has been adamant on the removal of AFSPA so far keeping the Kashmiri sentiment in its heart and mind The BJP had maintained that Army approval on the highly sensitive issue was paramount and now the Army has come in to oppose the deal on AFSPA.
According to a Economic Times report: “Brushing aside any need for a ‘political gesture or initiative'” on the matter, the Army says any dilution in AFSPA safeguards would be “premature” at this stage since Pakistan still has 44 terror-training camps directed against India on its soil, with at least 17-18 of them still operating round-the-clock. “Yes, violence levels in J&K are certainly down, with the state polls being held without any major incident. But the government should adopt a wait-and-watch policy to ensure there is no major terror blowback,” said an official.
As of now the PDP and the BJP are staring each other in the faces on the issues of AFSPA and Article 370. Both AFSPA and Art. 370 are issues that are stuck as thorns in the throats of PDP and BJP. On the one hand, removal of Art. 370 has forever been a part of ideology of BJP, BJP’s progenitor Jan Sangh and RSS.
Former RSS ideologue, KN Govindacharya, has gone on record to criticize the ongoing talks between the frontrunners of assembly elections. Govindacharya has remarked that the current basis for an alliance between the PDP and the BJP will prove detrimental to the BJP nationally since Art 370 has always been a part of party ideology.
The real loser in this drama are the people of Jammu and Kashmir who turned out in large numbers to set a record voter turnout for the assembly elections in November-December 2014. If the BJP or the PDP walk away from ties now, the mandate would be a total waste. Governor’s rule will remain in force, Jammu will feel neglected again and it will largely be beneficial for PDP.
According to reports from the Indian Express the PDP has been softening its hard stance on Article 370 and the citizenship rights for West Pak refugees. It therefore, becomes highly likely that the set date of Feb 22 is to see the beginning of quite an interesting innings of the two parties. Interesting because the issues of Art 370 or AFSPA are bound to put either of these parties in a fix once the game begins.