Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Let Mufti Stay

The Congress Party has been facing a dilemma of sorts as it ponders the question of switching over to its own CM in J&K on Nov 2. Everybody, and this includes Congress leaders in private, acknowledges that the Mufti’s rule has been defined by some definite changes in the ground situation- an improved security scenario, a genuine and growing public participation in elections, the changing psyche of the people who want peace and accountability from their leaders, the opening up of routes to PoK, an improving power situation, work expedited on the Udhampur-Baramulla railway line (italicized attributed to Neerja Chowdhary, IE). By breaking the jinx of the NC government, India has shown to the outside world that it can hold onto its promise of providing free and fair elections to J&K. Mufti has already indicated that he would not like to continue for just another 3-4 months so as to see the current relief operations through. Now or never. Congress had shown remarkable sagacity in withdrawing from the CM’s seat 3 years back to let a Kashmiri party call the shots. This was despite it being the larger partner in the coalition. It’s time now to extend that generosity and let Mufti continue in the chair. This will not only improve the fragile situation in J&K further but will also earn tremendous goodwill for the party not just in the region but everywhere else too. It would also help the Congress in cleansing its record of the shameless shenanigans in Goa and Jharkhand.

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