Once again, despite having the odds stacked against it, the BJP made a political move to beat its three-year coalition partner. The PDP, whose leadership has been flooded with demands and pleas to break ties with the BJP, is left on the defensive. Interestingly, there were strong rumours that the PDP would quit the alliance in a few months.
Had the PDP broken the alliance it would have been an extremely embarrassing situation for the BJP. The BJP leaders maintained that the party had “sacrificed” a lot to forge a “historic” alliance with a party that has a contrasting ideology. BJP leaders say the party’s leadership “pre-empted” the PDP’s move and decided to walk out first – a move that has given them an upper hand in the political developments that will follow.
With the situation in Kashmir – and the state as a whole – having deteriorated, the BJP can now claim that it could not handle things properly due to the non-cooperation of its ally that was heading the government. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, who played the most significant role in forging the alliance and maintaining it till date, on Tuesday confirmed this with his statement on why the alliance was being broken.
“There were two major objectives when we joined the alliance – peace and progress in the state. Terrorism, violence and radicalisation have risen and the fundamental rights of citizens are in danger in the Valley. Shujaat Bukhari’s killing is an example… We discussed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, and how much we’ve achieved since forming the government in the
state. After a meeting with BJP’s Amit Shah, we decided that we cannot continue with PDP in the state,” he said.
When they formed the alliance with the PDP following a hung election in 2015, the BJP leadership antagonised its own constituency – the right wing across the country. In its defence, the BJP leadership claimed to have planned developmental activities, that it would undertake with the BJP-ruled Centre’s help, which would give the party an advantage.
However, things weren’t moving as planned. It wasn’t just the projects not moving as planned, the Mehbooba Mufti government did not take many measures its coalition partner wanted. The release of youths arrested during the Shri Amarnath land row agitation is an example. The BJP has demanded that all FIRs registered during the agitation be withdrawn. BJP sources said the release of the youths – who were arrested during the 2008 agitation – had been agreed to by late Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. However, Mehbooba has been dragging her feet.
Mehbooba’s moves to allot government land to Jamiat Ahle Hadees was another bone of contention between the two. Despite strong objections from the BJP, the chief minister was going ahead with the decision to allot land for Eidgah permanently, sources said.
The BJP was upset that Jammu was also was slipping out of its hands. The Kathua rape-murder and the developments that followed “completely” turned Jammu against the BJP. The stand taken by the Centre and the state government has antagonised the party’s support base in Jammu. Anger in Jammu against the BJP is at its peak, said a source.
Military intelligence and NIA reports indicated that radicalisation in south Kashmir has gone up drastically. This only added fuel to the fire for the already anguished right wing constituency of the BJP.
By walking out, the BJP hopes that it has an argument which it can use to defend itself to its own core constituency – both in Jammu and at the national level. With the new arrangement – which is most probably Governor’s rule – the BJP sees an opportunity to control things directly. Whoever become governor, they will be directly under influence of the
central government. Before 2019, the party hopes to gain some ground, at least in Jammu.