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BJP pulls out of alliance with PDP in Jammu and Kashmir: Major flashpoints in coalition govt's rocky ride

The BJP on Tuesday announced that it is breaking its alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir, saying that it has become untenable to continue in the government. BJP's general secretary Ram Madhav, while addressing a press conference, said that terrorism, violence and radicalisation have risen and fundamental rights of the citizens are in danger in the Valley.

File image of Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and Kavinder Gupta. PTI

File image of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti and Kavinder Gupta. PTI

This comes soon after BJP president Amit Shah called for an urgent meeting of all Jammu and Kashmir BJP ministers and some top leaders in New Delhi on Tuesday. Sources had told News18 that the meeting was likely convened following differences between the PDP and BJP over the issue of the recent Ramzan ceasefire.

The ceasefire was just the recent thaw to plague the BJP-PDP alliance in the state. The Centre announced that the Ramzan ceasefire would not be extended and anti-terror operations would resume in the state. Reports said that the decision to end the ceasefire had upset the PDP.

Sources told NDTV that PDP maintained that the Centre needs to reach out to the separatists. Meanwhile, the BJP felt the separatists let go of an opportunity by not making use of the ceasefire to work for peace.

The report further said that the ceasefire initiative was the brainchild of Mehbooba Mufti, and the state BJP unit had fought it tooth and nail. It had even asked the Centre to spike her recommendation, arguing that "we should not do anything to demoralise the security forces".

Shortly after announcing an end to the ceasefire, the Centre said that it wants to ensure that the upcoming Amarnath Yatra starting 28 June is conducted peacefully.

The BJP-PDP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir has often been termed as the 'meeting of the north and south poles'. It has had a rocky ride since the start and been fraught with differences.

Kathua rape case

PDP sources had told Firstpost that Mufti had taken a strong exception to the BJP ministers pointing fingers at the crime branch probe into the case which could have also demoralised the forces. Mufti had even raised the issue of BJP leaders Lal Singh and CP Ganga “obstructing the process of justice” in the Kathua case with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Singh and Ganga had to resign from the government and the BJP decided to reshuffle the Cabinet. The saffron party had on 17 April asked all its nine ministers in the PDP-BJP government in the state to submit their resignations to enable bringing in new faces in the Mufti cabinet.

Haseeb Drabu's removal

Jammu and Kashmir finance minister Haseeb Drabu, one of the architects of the PDP-BJP alliance in the state, was unceremoniously removed from the council of ministers by Mufti over his remarks that the Kashmir issue was not a political one.

A BJP leader in New Delhi termed Mufti's decision to sack Drabu as a "setback" to the alliance as it could widen the gap between the two parties. Drabu, he said, was often the bridge between the Jammu and Kashmir government and the Centre over a host of issues. He recalled that Drabu played an important role in the formulation of the GST.

Drabu was the PDP's point person who worked out the draft of the agenda of alliance with the BJP that brought the two ideologically different parties to power after the 2014 elections produced a hung Assembly.

AFSPA

The BJP and the PDP were also not on the same page about the revocation of AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act). The saffron party said that the controversial law should not be revoked unless peace and normalcy is restored in state.

"BJP’s stand is very clear that AFSPA cannot be revoked unless and until peace and normalcy is restored in Jammu and Kashmir," BJP vice-president and incharge Jammu and Kashmir, Avinash Khanna, was quoted as saying by The New Indian Express.

His statement came soon after Mufti pitched for withdrawal of AFSPA from some areas. Mufti said she required a "window of peace" for ensuring good governance to "shrink the space" occupied by militants. "We should not shy away from the revocation of AFSPA. When things improve, why not?" she said.

However, she ruled out the possibility of withdrawal this year due to the "prevailing situation in Kashmir."

Talks with 'stakeholders'

In 2017, Mufti told her party's core group members and legislators that New Delhi was going to start a dialogue with all the "stakeholders," but that the normalcy must first return, according to this artcle in Firstpost. She was, however, rebuffed by the leaders of the BJP, saying they are not ready to start any dialogue with those who oppose India, including Hurriyat Conference.

Shah and Madhav both reiterated that they are against holding dialogue with Hurriyat leaders.

During the tenure of the alliance, leaders from both parties have blamed each other for the rising militancy in the state. According to The Times of India, the main thorn in each side is the approach of the other towards dealing with stone-pelters and mob violence.

The BJP's approach is what the PDP calls "confrontationist" politics and the PDP's approach is what the BJP calls "appeasement" politics, the report added.

Another major issue which revealed the cracks in the BJP-PDP alliance was Mufti's proposal to restructure Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS) and Kashmir Police Services (KPS) in 2016. According to an India Today report, the BJP objected to the proposal with Nirmal Singh questioning the Jammu and Kashmir government's authority to implement this proposal. Mufti reportedly walked out of the Cabinet meeting following the opposition.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jun 19, 2018 16:35 PM

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