Tuesday, October 22, 2002

The Kashmir Elections: Government Formation

I think the statement "you get the government you deserve" with regards to the Pakistani elections has come back to haunt us. We've definitely got the politicians we deserve in Jammu and Kashmir. I can't believe that the Congress has the gall to insist on having the Chief Ministers post.

1) The problem is not a Jammu problem. It's a Kashmir problem. The PDP has swept the elections in Kashmir, and are the elected representatives of the people in the state.

2) The chief minister of the state has always been from Kashmir, not jammu or Ladakh. If the issue was Jammu or if the state was trifurcated, I'd understand their behavior, but this is an astonishing attempt to grab power rather than try and work towards finding a solution to the kashmir problem.

3) The congress candidate, Ghulam Nabi Azad, isn't even an MLA. The Sayeeds have spent much of the last 3 months, at immense personal risk, building a grassroots organisation with strong popular support across the Valley, both for themselves as individuals and for the PDP.

4) The claim that the congress should have first right to the chief minister's position by virtue of having a larger number of seats is crap. They do not have the numbers to form a government without the PDP, and can only come into power through horse trading or a coalition. If you're quibbling over numbers, why not invite the NC to form the government, they have almost as many seats as the congress and PDP combined.

5) Just when the credibility of the democratic process was being restored in the Valley, the people's will has been hijacked and made a mockery of with the shockingly blatant horse trading.

I think before we mock Pakistan's flawed election process, we really should be ashamed of our own flawed democracy. If only Sonia Gandhi, in all her wisdom, would think for once about what would be best for the country that has not elected her as its leader, rather than the party that has.

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