Kashmir Indepth

Altaf Bukhari seconds Omar Abdullah on no to coalition regimes in J&K

SRINAGAR, Jan 8: Former finance minister Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Tuesday seconded the opinion of National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah who called for a decisive mandate in the upcoming Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir for return of single party Government era in the State.

“I personally believe that Kashmir has suffered a lot because of coalition politics that started since 2002.  The results of coming assembly elections shall have a huge bearing on the stability and all round development of the State,” Bukhari observed, adding that he leaves it to the conscience of people to choose and vote for any political party of their choice that can safeguard State’s socio-political interests and deliver the best.

The former finance minister observed that coalition politics results in chaotic atmosphere and more often lead to unstable governments that hugely affects the policy making and decisions of government and bring a limitation to them.

“It is my personal experience that coalition government is actually less democratic as the balance of power is inevitably held by the small parties who can barter their support for concessions from the main groups within the coalition. This means that a party with little popular support is able to impose its policies upon the majority by a process of political blackmail,” he remarked.

Referring to the bitter experiments of 2002, 2008 and 2015 coalition government formations in Jammu and Kashmir, Bukhari observed that people of the State suffered immensely due to coalition compulsions. “Be it PDP-Congress, NC-Congress or PDP-BJP coalition governments, all these equations undermined accountability as the interests and expectations of the people and particularly the voters of either of the two coalition partners were not addressed,” Bukhari opined.

He said the recent political developments in the State is a manifestation of demerits of a coalition government.  “Sometimes an ideological compass is necessary for governments to navigate in difficult political and economic waters, and coalitions lack such a unifying philosophy. In addition planning for the long-term often requires decisions to be made that are unpopular in the short-term. Coalitions often fail such tests because temporary unpopularity may encourage one of the parties involved to defect, in search of a populist advantage,” the former finance minister observed.

He said such a political equation greatly restricts the ability of governments to deal with major reforms and means that politicians seldom stay in any political party for long enough to get to grips with the expectations of his electorate. “At the same time, the squabbling between political parties that form a coalition government erodes the confidence of the public in their political system and in their elected representatives,” Bukhari observed further.

He appealed people of the State to make their mind for supporting any political party that it deems will usher in a change and address the socio-political and political aspirations of the people. “Jammu and Kashmir is passing through a tumultuous political situation. At this point of time, I appeal the people of all regions and sub regions of the state to get unified and give decisive mandate to any political party that can come up to their expectations and deliver on the ground,” Bukhari averred.

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