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New Delhi at his disposal

india Updated: Oct 08, 2010 00:27 IST

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah seems to have got tetchier over the past many months. For him to state in the J&K assembly on Wednesday that the state "had not merged with the Union but acceded to it under an agreement" is remarkable.

For a person who was brought into his current position by what has been universally considered as a fair and free mandate under the auspices of the Union of India, to suddenly swerve and duck and pass the buck shows a panic mentality that hardly suits a chief minister.

The state under Mr Abdullah's purview has been on the boil for some time now. Whether one feels sympathetic to his position or not, the proverbial buck does stop at his table.

The fact that Mr Abdullah has been unable to control the spiralling law and order situation in the Valley is bad enough. But to now play the politics of blame is taking the situation one dangerous step further.

The immediate cause for him to lash out against the Centre has been the Opposition party, People's Democratic Party's remark that it seemed that New Delhi has been "running the show" in the Valley.

Mr Abdullah's response has been childish. He has stated that he is no "puppet of Delhi". This is playing to the gallery as part of a knee-jerk reaction. The Centre understands the gravity of the problem in Kashmir and has provided Mr Abdullah enough elbow space to take charge. Unfortunately, instead of taking charge, he has passed the proverbial buck.

Mr Abdullah is being churlish while complaining that the Union government has not consulted him on reopening educational institutions in the state. He has also strangely criticised Home Secretary G K Pillai for "undermining the authority of the state's institutions" by speaking about lifting of curfew from Srinagar.

These complaints would have sounded more sturdy were Mr Abdullah in charge of the anarchic situation in the Valley and had been stonewalled by New Delhi. That is not the case. The inability to conduct according to his mandate has forced Mr Abdullah to placing the blame in the usual corner: New Delhi.

The fact is there for everyone to see. The Centre's eight-point agenda was known to Mr Abdullah a day before the Cabinet Committee for Security took it up. It's one thing to critique an agenda that looks towards reaching out to disgruntled elements. It's quite another for him to trash it because it's easier to reject anything and everything coming from New Delhi.

It's unfortunate that Mr Abdullah is using the Centre as a punching bag. J&K, as he has reiterated when it has suited his purpose before, is a part of India and solutions must come in tandem from both Srinagar and Delhi.

Bringing up the matter of the home secretary lifting curfew in parts of Srinagar in July is a matter of technicality.

It definitely doesn't need to be the point of conflict. Let Mr Abdullah realise quickly that the stop-gap arrangement of blaming the Centre is a strategy that serves no purpose. No matter that it's a dangerous path to take.