BJP-PDP alliance ends in J&K: Amit Shah takes bold step to break own govt; Centre to turn up heat on militants

On 1 March, 2015, PDP and BJP — the two most unlikely parties came together to form the first of its kind government in Jammu and Kashmir thereby scripting one of the most debatable chapters in independent India’s political history.

Exactly after three years, three months and 19 days, on 19 June, 2018 this bonhomie ended when the BJP unilaterally decided to pull out of the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, where the party had become part of the ruling dispensation for the first time. Other than getting surprised and upset with BJP's sudden action, the PDP has little to do as the Mehbooba Mufti government has effectively fallen and a notification on Governor's Rule may be expected anytime soon.

File image of BJP chief Amit Shah. PTI

File image of BJP chief Amit Shah. PTI

It was probably a difficult decision for the BJP leadership, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah in particular. Given the manner things turned out on the ground, it caused a great amount of unease among all ranks in BJP, particularly to those from the Jammu region where the party had swept the Assembly polls in 2014 winning 25 seats (up by 11 seats). Although a complex coalition was stitched between the two parties, the unsustainability of the alliance was increasingly becoming evident. However, until Monday nobody had clue what was in store for Tuesday.

What was a matter of pride in 2015-16 for the BJP had gradually turned into a kind of liability, which incurred further diminishing returns with each passing day. Incidents of "terrorism, violence and radicalisation" were on the rise, said BJP general secretary and party’' points person for Jammu and Kashmir Ram Madhav while assessing the prevailing atmosphere in the state. In all likelihood, the assassination of journalist Shujaat Bukhari on the eve of Eid was the ultimate trigger for Tuesday's decision by the BJP.

Emerging situations on the ground were such that the BJP leadership couldn’t ignore them any longer and had to take the hard decision of pulling out from the government and bring down a popularly elected government of which it was part for the last three years. By doing so the BJP could now take a moral high-ground that they sacrificed their own government in the state because of their avowed "nation first" philosophy.

Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh had recently visited Jammu and Kashmir and had made a first-hand assessment of the situation. The BJP leadership may have decided to pull down the Mufti government now but their trust in her ability to rule had gone long ago. The only thing that was in contention was the timing. There were a lot of complaints against her that she would not act on central intelligence and security agencies' inputs and would continue to play soft towards anti-social and anti-national elements. A seasoned leader, Singh would appear cool in public with Mufti or while visiting Kashmir but as sources said he was deeply disturbed about the developments in the Valley and didn't really approve of the continuance of the PDP-BJP government in the state.

The announcement of ceasefire or NICO (Non-initiation of combat operations) during the holy month of Ramzan was the last ditch attempt by the Centre to build goodwill and see if any faction of separatists, militant outfits or people at large supported it. This despite the fact that there was evidence to suggest when a similar exercise was undertaken by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government years back, the move had become counterproductive. The killing of Shujaat Bukhari and Indian Army soldier Aurangzeb along with the whole lot of other incidents proved that ceasefire was a failed move and thus the Modi government was forced to abort it ahead of Amarnath yatra.

Earlier in the day on Tuesday when National Security Advisor Ajit Doval drove to BJP chief Shah’s residence in New Delhi, not many people realised the importance of it, least of all what was going to come in the next few hours. Most people mistook this all-important meeting as a general consultation on preparedness for Amarnath yatra.

Though it's not unprecedented that top government officials drive to meet top political leaders of various parties to share inputs on specific subjects, but it was left to Ram Madhav to tell the country as to what must have transpired between Doval and Shah. It appears as though Shah wanted to take a full-scale briefing about the situation before taking a final call. He even summoned all senior BJP leaders to the party headquarters in New Delhi for a detailed meeting before taking the call.

It can now be expected that security agencies in Kashmir Valley would go tough against militants and take hard steps to restore normalcy. During the ceasefire, they nullified some of the gains it had made in past few months vis-à-vis militants but now with the Governor's Rule in the offing, they will come down hard against overt and covert supporters of militants groups. Containing radicalisation of youth would be prime on the agenda of intelligence and security forces as well.


Updated Date: Jun 19, 2018 20:14 PM

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