Uncertainty in J&K, Arunachal: Selfish parties are putting our borders in danger

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At a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working hard on his government's foreign policy equations with Pakistan and China, two of India's biggest challenges, the domestic complications in the two frontier states of Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh will cause worry at the Centre.

The problems in Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh, though have unfolded in contradictory ways, but nevertheless pose challenges to the federal democracy and its security.

Jammu anxiety

‘Peaceful threat' to functioning democracy in J&K

The J&K issue has been more of a ‘peaceful threat' with PDP president Mehbooba Mufti showing little urgency in taking over as the chief minister after the death of her father and incumbent CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

Apparently, she is yet to overcome the grief of the personal loss but deeper sources suggest that something more serious is at play.

The partnership between the PDP and BJP in governance in J&K has not been a rosy affair and Sayeed's demise gave the PDP a scope to reassess its alliance with the BJP.

Sources in the party were also alarmed by the number of mourners attending Sayeed's funeral, assuming it to be a warning call.

Mufti herself was reportedly unhappy with the way the Centre had handled the PDP over releasing economic packages for the state.

The decision to see Mehbooba as her father's successor was also not a well-received one at many quarters, thanks to the leader's views on security issues and human rights violation issues.

The Anantnag MP herself, too the past, had expressed her disinterest in the chief minister's post.

PDP-Congress alliance not feasible

But if the PDP is contemplating dumping the BJP at some level and go for an alliance with the Congress, the move wouldn't be disaster-proof.

In terms of arithmetic, the fresh alliance would not ensure a majority (the PDP has 27 seats without the late Sayeed while the Congress has 12 in the 87-member Assembly) while in terms of democracy, it would be betraying the mandate of the 2014 election, particularly that of the Jammu region which had gone for the BJP (25 states and highest vote-share of 23 per cent).

The Congress, despite its steady decline in the state, will also look to an unpredictable turn from the PDP to keep the BJP at bay. Till the PDP makes up its mind on an uncertain game it is playing, the state would continue under the governor's rule.

Parties have held Arunachal to ransom

In Arunachal Pradesh, too, it is the parties' opportunistic game which has held the state to ransom.

While the Congress is eyeing the BJP's ouster in J&K, it is at the receiving end in the north-eastern state. Though the intervention by the judiciary could see the crisis nearing its end now, but the fact remains that political parties in India never give up humiliating the very system that gives them a chance to emerge at the top.

Arunachal Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, who has been facing rebellion for some time, dropped three senior ministers and inducted three others in early 2014.

After a few months, he re-inducted two of them to pacify the dissidence. But his anti-camp had become very active by then and Tuki dropped four top ministers in October last year. The Congress Legislature Party in the state was split on the issue and the rebel camp backed Kalikho Pul as the replacement for Tuki. They also sought the removal of Assembly Speaker Nabam Rebia, reportedly linked to Tuki, and found a backing from Governor JP Rajkhowa, appointed in June 2015.

When Rebia refused to let the Assembly session which was summoned by the governor to exclusively take up the notice served by the rebel camp seeking the former's ouster, the rebels held their own session at another venue. In that session, Rebia was removed and Pul was "elected" the new leader of the House.

The rebel Congress leaders even found support in 13 BJP and 12 Independent legislators. But since the actual strength of the House is 44 (not 60 as 14 MLAs were disqualified and two resigned, which meant 23 is the majority mark and not 31) as held by Rebia, so Tuki with the support of 23 MLAs was still heading a "stable" government.

But the petitions filed by both sides in the Gauhati High Court and Supreme Court over the last two months saw the political situation in Arunachal Pradesh worsen and the governance coming to a halt. In a border state which is marked by ethnic diversity, such a paralysis in the government poses a big threat.

The parties only look after their selfish interest of getting into the power by hook or crook, taking little care of the impact the chaos can leave on the political health and security situation in the country.

It is disappointing to see how dissident members in the government along with the Opposition are indulging in opportunistic ventures, even at the cost of creating problems for stability at the borders.

While the Congress has harboured an immoral ambition of making inroads into the governance in J&K when the PDP-BJP alliance found itself in an uncomfortable position in the wake of the death of a senior leader; it is fighting against itself in Arunachal to allow petty factional interests prevail.

On the other hand, the BJP, which has remained apprehensive over the PDP's move in J&K, has fuelled the crisis in government in Arunachal by backing the rebel Congress MLAs.

Is this for what elections take place in India?

Good news for Pak, China

The continuing political stalemate in J&K and Arunachal Pradesh will make Pakistan and China more than happy. The disruptive elements in Pakistan have of late tried to sneak into India and carry out their sinister plans through Punjab since J&K has been under a positive focus and things looked under control there.

But now with the PDP-BJP alliance facing a fresh uncertainty in the post-Sayeed period, there is every possibility of the anti-peace camps in Pakistan targeting the border state again.

In Arunachal, too, the crisis will encourage the Chinese as well as the anti-India elements. China has refused to acknowledge Arunachal to be a part of India and it is also one of the least-affected states in the north-east in terms of insurgency, thanks to various socio-economic initiatives.

But with the government in the state seriously hit by factional feuds, there is every chance of the disruptive elements taking full opportunity of the uncertainty created therein.

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