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The fall of Mehbooba Mufti

The inevitable has happened. Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), who had come together to form government in Jammu and Kashmir in 2014, have finally fallen apart. The so called democratic rule has ended and the state is now ruled by the central government directly through its representative—the Governor. Though the uneasy relationship between PDP and BJP was a public matter and there were speculations that the coalition would not survive full term but nobody had expected that it would collapse so soon and so suddenly. Even ‘chief minister’ Mehbooba Mufti was taken unawares. She was sitting in the ‘chief minister’s’ chamber in the civil secretariat when she was told about BJP’s decision breaking ties with the PDP. It does not need one to be a scientist to understand the level of humiliation and embarrassment that a chief minister must have gone through when the mat was being pulled under her feet without making her to know. What makes Mehbooba’s case even more awful is that she has been divested of any chance of playing victimhood card. In the over -three years of the coalition rule, there came moments which PDP could have used them to its advantage but, much to the political opportunism, the PDP only played second fiddle to the BJP at the cost of its own standing in its core constituency. The turbulent situation that erupted after the death of Hizb commander Burhan Wani was the real moment. Mehbooba Justified killing and maiming of protesting people by the security forces sometimes using the anatomy ‘toffee and doodh’ and sometime holding parents responsible for allowing their children to take part in protests. That was the worst kind of heartlessness and vindictiveness one had ever heard from the people in power to conceal the blood on their hands. Over 100 people were killed and more than 15000 were wounded in the pellets and bullets fired by the men in Khaki across the valley. Hundreds of wounded people have been left maimed permanently. Dozens like Insha Mushtaq have been blinded. And the worst of it is that Mehbooba Mufti always sided with her men she commanded over as home minister of the state. Unlike her father who would console and condole people by sympathizing with them, Mehbooba would ridicule them: yeh vahi log (protestors) hien jin ko mien ne task force se bachaya hai. Ab mere khilaf muzahiray kar rahay hien. Yeh kia toffee lenay gaye thay, parents zimadar hien, voh apne bacho’n ko roktay kyon nahi… Despite having crossed all borders of oppression and suppression against her people, BJP was never happy with Mehbooba Mufti. They always wanted her to do more which she obliged them with great servility. A pressure of sorts was put on her through TV news channels who would abuse Mehbooba Mufti as “pro Pakistan”, “advocate of soft separatism” to make her more pliant to BJP demands.  This trick worked well with the BJP, and she fell in line quite the way BJP wanted her. Mehbooba’s unexpected but bold stand on Kathua rape and murder case showed that had she exhibited some sort of courage earlier too, she would not have fallen the way she fell. Her exit goes un-mourned. While Jammu, the support-base of the BJP, was up with joy and excitement for bludgeoning her from power, there were no mourners for her even in the valley too. Mehbooba Mufti could have made a case for her political survival, at least, by advocating extension in the Ramazan cease-fire. It was a great opportunity for her to make and claim “martyrdom”.