Fractured Verdict

Final tally shows J&K has got a hung Assembly with PDP emerging as the single largest party bagging 28 seats followed by BJP with 25 seats. NC clinches third rank and Congress has the lowest viz. 12 seats. Independent candidates bag 7 seats. In comparison to 2008 elections, PDP has added 7 seats in current polls while NC kitty has lost 9 seats in comparison to 28 it had won in the previous election.
BJP’s overall performance is quite interesting. However, it has failed to open its account in the Valley and Ladakh region, where the refrain of its rival parties was to keep BJP out of picture, come what may. Nevertheless BJP has made surprising improvement in Jammu region bagging 25 seats as against 11 seats in 2008. Interestingly, in Kalakote constituency of Rajouri district, the seat has gone to a Muslim BJP candidate who defeated his rival — a two-time NC candidate. We cannot call it polarization on religious count, but of course, 25 seats from Jammu from a total of35 seats means much more than what we may assume.
Generally it is believed that initial call by the separatists and secessionist to boycott polling was a windfall for the PDP which very deftly used it to garner a large number of votes since the party made it clear to the valley electorate that they should keep out BJP from forming the next Government.
The verdict carries many surprises. Despite being wiped out of the valley and Ladakh, BJP has polled 23 per cent of the total vote, PDP 22.7 per cent, NC 20.8 per cent and Congress 18 per cent. There may be different opinions whether Modi wave swept over J&K or not, the fact of the matter is that BJP has scored the highest vote percentage in this Assembly poll. Nobody can dispute it and hope fully for the first time Jammu voters will very explicitly understand the power of their ballot paper when properly used.
Polling is over, counting is over, results have been announced and now stakeholders are engrossed in imagining permutations and combinations that is the logical sequel to a hung Assembly. There is no point in one party casting aspersions on another party or trying to denigrate it for not having reached its targets. Which of the contenting parties in J&K did not make tall claims that it would make clean sweep of votes and independently formulate the new Government? This is election rhetoric resorted to by all parties in all democratic countries without exception. We know that the rise of Modi so suddenly on the political horizon of India is still something hard for some people to digest. But democracy has power which cannot be suppressed. Many stalwarts of NC and Congress have lost in the husting. Among them are 8 Ministers from Congress, 6 from NC and 1 from Democratic Party Nationalist.
Now the stakeholders are busy in discussing what sort of coalition will come into existence in J&K.  Party leaders are non committal essentially because they are uncertain of the line parties at stake would be taking. The sad thing about our politics is that parties, including traditionally recognized ones, no more attach the tag of moral values to the politics of today. Now in this scenario, all the parties in J&K are engaged behind the curtain probing which party would be prepared to agree for alliance with whom. Obviously such decisions are not taken by individual leaders but by the party executives and that are likely to take a day or more.
BJP Party President has announced that his party has kept all the options open. Its parliamentary board will be meeting tomorrow and hopefully it will decide which of the options it would take. PDP has emerged the largest single party but with the numbers it has, it cannot form the Government on its own. Whether PDP or BJP stake claim for forming the Government after making alliance with others, National Conference holds important key position. PDP + Congress could be an option and BJP + NC could also be an option. Perhaps the final decision will be taken in the light of the contours of Minimum Common Programme which the involved parties will agree upon.
Generally speaking while monitoring the election campaign of the contesting parties in J&K, the ordinary voter was very hopeful that a change in the status quo was much desired. But most of them were not able to elucidate the contours and nature of change. Therefore whatever is the structure of the new Government, heavy responsibility will devolve on its shoulders. Eradication of corruption, good governance, rule of law, employment and security for the civilian population are of vital important.
There is good news for BJP from Jharkhand where for the first time after the creation of the state, a stable Government is going to be formed by BJP along with its ally AJSU. Hopefully after going through a long spate of instability, Jharkhand will get strong, stable and good governance.
Let us conclude with the great truth that in the service of the nation there are no real winners and no real losers. There are only real servants. That is how great nations are made. Those who will be required to sit on the opposition benches have responsibility no less than those who will sit on treasury benches. Once the elected members enter the portals of the august law making house, they need to forget that they were rivals.