Mufti's remark on Article 370 expunged: Is BJP gaining an upper hand over PDP in J&K Assembly?

The Speaker, Kavinder Gupta, who publicly admits being a “proud RSS cadre”, decided to expunge Mufti's remarks on Article 370

The wooden chairs were flying and the lawmakers were busy exchanging blows. No, it’s not another scene from an action film but from the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly on February 1. The Speaker, Kavinder Gupta had to adjourn the House to save Peoples Democratic Party & Bharatiya Janta Party from further embarrassment over differences on Article 370.

While the opposition National Conference and Congress termed it as “murder of democracy”, both the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council have been adjourned for seven days.

The trouble arose a few days back when the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s remarked that “nothing is more anti-national than talking about abrogation of Article 370.” The Speaker, who publicly admits being a “proud RSS cadre”, decided to expunge her remarks.

It is for the first time in the history of J&K that the House has expunged the words of its own CM because one of the allies in the coalition, the BJP, desired so. Interestingly, while the PDP remained silent, the opposition raised a hue and cry.

Former CM Omar Abdullah was at the forefront while his party colleagues Muhammad Akbar Lone and Ali Muhammad Sagar went a step further. Lone, who is already infamous for once using choicest abuses like “chore and Dallah” in the house, exchanged blows with BJP minister Chowdhary Lal Singh this time. However, the House was adjourned before Dogri-speaking Lal Singh could translate Akbar Lone’s Kashmiri remarks.

But then, what will be the fallouts? While some media reports suggest that Mehbooba Mufti may resign, it seems to be an incorrect assumption. This is simply because eating a humble pie has been a tradition with this alliance, which was termed as “union of north and south poles” by late Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.

After his death on January 7, 2016, Mehbooba was initially reluctant to continue with the alliance pleading that “Modi’s BJP” did not fulfil the promises that they made with her father. Having demanded some new “tangible confidence building measures”, Mehbooba finally volunteered to be sworn in as the CM on the previously decided terms and conditions.

This time right-wing BJP, which aspires to abrogate Article 370, made Mehbooba eat her own words. But the two parties seem to have settled the differences.

Fun Fact: Amid noisy scenes, on the day when the House was adjourned in Jammu, Mehbooba was enjoying in Gulmarg as she inaugurated a snow carnival at the ski resort. However, to keep the pot boiling, the Opposition had issues. Seems like Begani Shadi Mein Abdullah Dewana!