It was anybody’s guess what Mehbooba Mufti was up to for the past three months after her father’s demise. Initially she tried to position herself as a politician who is not power hungry. She kept on whipping her moral high horse to take her higher and higher so that people are deceived into perceiving her as an upright politician. She kept on invoking the people’s interest as she told us more than once she doesn’t want power if it doesn’t serve the people. Nice words those. But such moralistic book ending was obviously meant to recover the political ground Mehbooba’s party, PDP, has lost because of its alliance with the BJP whose anti-Kashmir bias is so evident in its words and actions.
All these three months Mehbooba kept on throwing around one inane laundry list after another in the vain hope that people would think she is up to something really grand. The people knew it was no more than childish posturing – a tactic that woefully exposed the politician in Mehbooba every time the BJP called her bluff, further exposing her immature politics and Mehbooba, in person, to public ridicule. More than that, the way BJP handled Mehbooba, re-established the defining feature of New Delhi’s attitude to pro-Indian politicians in Kashmir: you may be the chief ministerial candidate, but not the master; the master sits in Delhi – he decides what is good for you.
Somewhere Mehbooba discovered the road to power in Kashmir is a simple ‘yes’ to what the master in Delhi tells you. As realpolitik became exigent, Mehbooba let go of all deception of riding the moral high horse. The much-touted CBMs (which perhaps even she didn’t know what they should be) and other laundry lists were quietly rolled up and thrown out of the window.
So welcome Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti!
While actually being a collaborator of the occupation project, Mehbooba’s problem is that she wants people to see her as a martyr and ghaziya both at the same time. Sorry M’am, it doesn’t happen like that. People in Kashmir are enough intelligent to call you out.
People are already asking for what earth-shaking happened in those 35 minutes of Mehbooba’s meeting with the Indian PM in New Delhi on 22 March that made her to change her mind. If at all anything concrete would have transpired, the PDP would have gone to town over it agging it as its victory. Soon after this meeting, the Indian Express had quoted an unnamed source that the BJP president Amit Shah had “agreed on assurances but not publicly.” That just goes about to say how serious the BJP can be about such “assurances”. In fact the same paper had quoted a PDP leader doing a cover-up job for the BJP. “We won’t talk about that because even if that was the case (that no specific assurances were made by the Indian PM), why would we embarrass our partners?” the leader was quoted as saying.
In fact when Mehbooba spoke to reporters after her meeting with Modi, she said, “It was a very good meeting… and I am satisfied with the assurances.”
Since nothing was actually committed by Modi in his meeting with Mehbooba, a conscientious person would probably have whispered this line in a Ghalibesque self-deprecating tone: Bohut bay aabroo ho kar teray kuchay say hum niklay. And in self-condemnation again à la Ghalib would have added this line: sharm tum ko magar nahin aatee.
What needs to be seen in the years ahead is not how much arm twisting Mehbooba goes through, but how easy the BJP would find it do so to have its way. Sit back and watch this lady barter your interests away to stay politically a oat and then tell you with her trademark double facedness that I shot you in the head to save your foot.