In an impassioned speech in the Lok Sabha during the Article 370 debate, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor – who purely on his parliamentary skills should be Congress’s leader in the House instead of the bumbling Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary – warned that the step to remove special status for Jammu and Kashmir was the ‘political equivalent’ of demonetization (DeMo). At the time, the remarks appeared hyperbolic but on more careful examination, there are striking parallels between the manner in which Article 370 has been rendered ineffective and how Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes were de-monetised.
A few months after he had taken over as chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir in the spring of 2015, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed hosted a dinner for journalists in the capital. Mufti ‘saab’ was a great host: the drink was flowing and the Kashmiri wazwaan was delicious. The gracious hospitality didn’t stop us from asking the obvious question: ‘How long will this BJP-PDP alliance last?” Mufti saab’s answer reflected his optimistic mood: ‘I am hopeful that between Modi saab and me, we can create history and bridge the divide between Jammu and Kashmir forever!”
The year 2014 has been the year of the lotus. The indefatigable Narendra Modi-Amit Shah combine has taken the BJP to a spectacular victory at the Centre, won Maharashtra and Haryana and seem poised to win Jharkhand too. It is only when you cross the Banihal pass and reach the banks of the Dal that the blossoming lotus seems to wilt a bit. The BJP may have pushed for ‘Mission 44’ in Jammu and Kashmir but this could well be one bridge too far, at least in this election in the Kashmir Valley.