The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) have recently agreed to form a power-sharing government in Kashmir; much to the delight of the BJP workers. For the Hindu nationalist party, coming into power in the only Muslim majority state is a greater statement of success than winning Delhi could ever have been; the Kejriwal shaped chink in the armour stands nullified. With this victory the BJP has secured much of the vote bank that had been fed divisive politics, the hard-liners are satisfied and contenders in other provinces on their guard. Losing in Delhi is advantageous even; it keeps alive the ‘soft liberals’, to be criticised and to be presented as a contrast, while BJP can undertake government of Kashmir with the same zeal it displayed in campaigning for it.

The biggest loser in this result will not be Congress or the National Conference, it will be the PDP. Already it is drawing the ire of many Kashmiris, who are blaming party patriarch, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed of ‘selling out’ and ‘betraying’ the public mandate. They voted in droves to keep BJP out, not to hand it power. How will PDP and BJP, who stand on different ends of key issues such as the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and Article 370, form a power sharing government that is acceptable to PDP voters and Muslim Kashmiris? A compromise, the most likely possibility, will surely be a step back from the PDP’s stance, while BJP, being in power in Kashmir for the first time, will treat even the smallest concessions as a victory.

The details of the agreement have yet to be announced but reports indicate that BJP will get a fair share of government portfolios, including health, tourism, engineering, planning and water resources – an important portfolio considering the federal government’s squabbles with Pakistan over the Indus Water Treaty. BJP has negotiated these elections well, and are set for a strong showing in other regions too.