Just one path open for Mehbooba — to lead the state

Just one path open for Mehbooba — to lead the stateMehbooba Mufti wants to rebel against the status quo, where her people are suffering. She wants their dignity to be restored to them in the real terms, not just by the sweet spoken words or the meaningless written phrases. Her desire is to see the matching action on the ground.
For the past two months, I have been trying to figure it out where does my state — Jammu and Kashmir — stand today. The second question is more disturbing — does it stand anywhere? My conclusion is disappointing: the state is drifting, politically. Now, I feel that the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has left much wider vacuum in the state than I had thought initially. There is complete uncertainty. Worse still, no one knows how to come out of it.
Here, I feel that PDP president Mehbooba Mufti is right in observing that her shoulders are not strong enough to shoulder the responsibilities that her father used to during his lifetime. This is a fact of life which she is candid enough to admit. But, I personally feel that this should not hamper her path to make a choice of her future role. When Mufti Sayeed started his career, he had no political legacy to carry on. He stood on his own. It was his choice. Today, Mehbooba has no option but to make her own choice. There is only one path open for her — to lead the state. No other choice is available to her. This is the legacy she has inherited and cannot shy away from.
In the throes of the spring of 2016, she is facing a revolt within herself. She wants to rebel against the status quo, where her people are suffering. She wants their dignity to be restored to them in the real terms, not just by the sweet spoken words or the meaningless written phrases. Her desire is to see the matching action on the ground. That’s her vision, which is in contrast with that of others, who just want to be in the government. There is a difference. Mehbooba stands for action on the ground, others want a smooth ride in cars and the luxury of the protected homes.
She wants to bring in reforms. She wants to set her own signature tune on the state politics, where mandate is honoured and the relations are strengthened within the country and with neighbouring countries. Unfortunately, many thought, the PDP chief chose to demand the confidence-building measures from the Centre before accepting her role as new Chief Minister. The spin doctors were out in the open, asking her how she could demand the CBMs from the Centre, because the CBMs are between two sovereign nation states. Others taunted her — why didn’t she ask for these measures when her father was in power? All of them tried to corner her with twin objectives, demanding that she form the government and get consumed under the weight of her own vision, and at the same time, to undermine the credibility that the new leader of the state was trying to build.
In the past two months, I am a witness to the partisan politics at its worst. Within her own party, some of the leaders started hobnobbing with the usual suspects to see how could they get into the government. Other parties set their break-parties experts on parole. Everything was available for those who wanted to fall for it after the initial resistance.
Mehbooba knew all this, but she maintained her calm. The way she steadied herself after the death of her father, and moved around talking to party workers, exhorting them to work together and her poise in the challenging times was amazing. It became more visible when she was being challenged to pick up the gauntlet in the state, whose water resources have been held hostage, where the people are struggling for the day-to-day dignity. In short, she wants aspirations of the people to be realised the way Rabindranath Tagore described it — “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, Where knowledge is free, Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls…”
No one asked her to litter her path with these challenges, but she did. Having seen that how the things work in the state and how she would have to confront at every step the forces which by tradition have been suspicious of all of us — this side or the other side of the border — she must make a choice and make it soon. The political drift needs to be arrested, so that Jammu and Kashmir can look forward to a new future under a new leader.