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Dramatic change in the critics' attitude
Government formation in J&K
2/23/2015 12:19:12 AM

Early Times Report

JAMMU, Feb 22: believe it or not, but it is a fact that many critics of the PDP and the BJP have suddenly developed a positive attitude towards both these parties and even went to the extent of condemning Pakistan for its anti-PDP attitude. Take, for example, Happymon Jacob, former Vice-Chancellor of Jammu University Amitabh Mattoo's right hand man. Jacob not only virtually supported the moves of the PDP and the BJP to form coalition government in the state but also denounced Pakistan. "The one likely explanation then is the ongoing negotiations between PDP and BJP in forming the next government in J&K. While there is a great deal of opposition in Kashmir to such an alliance, for right or wrong reasons, the simple fact is that who forms the government in J&K or who doesn't is none of Pakistan's business: its entirely the business of the people of J&K, the representatives who they have elected and the parties they belong to. For a long time, Islamabad argued that elections in J&K are not free and fair, and that was not entirely incorrect, as was argued by many Indians themselves; but its high time Islamabad realized that the elections in J&K are no more stage-managed by New Delhi," he, among other things, said in his latest political essay on Jammu & Kashmir. His essay "I fail to understand as to what Islamabad stands to gain by alienating PDP" appeared today in an English language daily. He wrote this essay to express his concern over the Pakistani reported refusal to grant visa to the PDP chief spokesperson Nayeem Akhtar. Akhtar was to visit Islamabad as "part of a track-II delegation". Pakistan reportedly said that it didn't recognize anyone in Kashmir except the Hurriyat. A report in a leading national daily, The Hindu, reported the other day that the "Hurriyat is the true representative of the people of Jammu and Kashmir".
On December 28, 2014, just five days after the declaration of results, Jacob had come out with a highly nasty political essay on Jammu & Kashmir and it was titled "Demythifying 'Kashmir's Communal Vote". In his essay, he had hailed the Congress, the PDP, the NC, the People's Conference and the three newly-elected MLAs Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, Hakim Yasin and Er Rashid and condemned the BJP as communal and as the one opposed to the so-called Kashmiri nationalism. He had, inter-alia, said: "Despite all its flaws, the Congress party continues to be secular while PDP is a Kashmiri nationalist party and the NC is a pan-J&K party. PC's Sajad Lone is also far from being communal. How, then, can the voting behavior of the Kashmiri Muslims said to be communal? The PDP (to a great extent) and NC (to a lesser extent) are Kashmiri nationalist parties and it is important to realize that there is a clear distinction between religion-based communal politics and non-religious nationalism…BJP is not a secular party; its agenda and ideology are based on the Hindu religion".
He wrote the essay "Demythifying 'Kashmir's Communal Vote" at a time when many outside Kashmir had urged the PDP and the BJP to join hands to form the next government in the state.
Just compare what he said in his "I fail to understand as to what Islamabad stands to gain by alienating PDP" and "Demythifying 'Kashmir's Communal Vote" and you will find the glaring difference in his approach. Indeed, there is a change in his attitude towards the moves of the PDP and the BJP on government formation in Jammu & Kashmir. But he is not the only one who was once critic of such a move. The attitude of many others, like Jacob, has undergone a change. It is very interesting.
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