SRINAGAR/NEW DELHI: It was an unnatural alliance between two parties with conflicting ideologies, one soft separatist and the other hard Hindutva, which was the outcome of a fractured mandate. With the credibility of both the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the BJP suffering a body blow, it was a surprise that they managed to stay in a coalition since 2015.
In the end, the insistence of outgoing Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to continue with the unilateral ceasefire, her PDP’s threat to pull out of the coalition government and the BJP’s fear of losing ground in its stronghold of the Jammu region prompted the saffron party on Monday to pull out of the coalition government in the state.
Making the announcement, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said: “It has become untenable for the BJP to continue in the alliance. Keeping in mind that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and in order to control the prevailing situation in the state, we have decided that the reins of power in the state be handed over to the Governor.”
Caught by surprise, Mehbooba tried to retrieve lost ground, saying her party had safeguarded Articles 370 and 35-A during her tenure.
“We had always said a muscular security policy will not work in Jammu and Kashmir, reconciliation is the key,” she said and listed withdrawing over 11,000 FIRs against stone throwers among her achievements.
Later in the day, Governor N N Vohra recommended the imposition of Central rule in his report to President Ram Nath Kovind.
With the truce called off, the PDP leadership was due to meet in the next few days to decide whether or not to pull out of the alliance. BJP sources claimed the party leadership got a whiff of it and got proactive.
“Party president Amit Shah on Monday summoned all state BJP ministers and party leaders to New Delhi for a meeting during which it was decided to snap ties with the PDP,” they said.
According to sources, “Shah was not willing to give the PDP a chance to ‘become a political martyr’ by ending the alliance with BJP. Hence, the BJP took the lead in calling off the alliance.”
BJP insiders in Srinagar told The New Indian Express that before the Ramzan ceasefire was called off by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday, Mehbooba had been pressing for its extension. “She wanted the ceasefire to continue. Her argument was civilian killings during operations by security forces aggravate the situation,” they said.
There was a decline in violence during Ramzan as security forces halted their active anti-militancy operations. However, militants continued their attacks and two days before Eid, senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead in Lal Chowk. On the same day, an Army jawan was abducted and later gunned down.
Sources in the PDP said the ceasefire had generated hope that a dialogue could be started between the separatists and the Centre.
I am not shocked as this alliance was never for power. PDP never believes in power politics and we worked for the people... We had always said muscular security policy will not work in J&K
The opportunistic BJP-PDP alliance set fire to J&K, killing many innocent people including our brave soldiers. It cost India strategically... Incompetence, arrogance & hatred always fails
We requested him (Vohra) that Governor’s rule should not be there for long... We want the Governor and his colleagues to make the situation conducive once again for fresh elections
We’ve tried to put a full-stop to ceasefire violations by Pak. PDP has not been successful in fulfilling its promises. Our leaders have been facing a lot of difficulties from PDP in developmental works
Governor rule over the years
Mar 1977: Cong withdraws support to NC govt. Guv rule lasts 105 days
Mar 1986: Cong withdraws support to Ghulam Mohammad Shah’s govt. Guv rule for 246 days
Jan 1990: Farooq Abdullah resigns over appointment of Jagmohan as Governor. Guv rule for six years and 264 days
Oct 2002: Caretaker CM Farooq refuses to continue in office after NC defeat in polls. Guv rule lasts 15 days
Jun 2008: PDP pulls out of Cong coalition. Guv rule for 174 days
Dec 2014: Polls throw up hung Assembly. Guv rule for 67 days
Jan 2016: Mufti Mohd Sayeed dies in harness; PDP, BJP defer govt formation till four-day mourning period ends
In big hit, three Jaish men killed
SRINAGAR: Three top Jaish-e-Mohammed militants, including its operational commander, were killed in an encounter with security forces in Tral in Pulwama district on Tuesday. The encounter broke out after security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in the area following specific intelligence inputs. Earlier, Director General of Police (DGP) S P Vaid wrote on Twitter, ‘Encounter going on at Hyena Tral, 3 (three) important JEM Terrorists trapped...’ Gun fight in the area was on at the time of going to Press.
Governor consults all parties, recommends President’s rule
With National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad ruling out support to any party to form a coalition government in J&K, Governor N N Vohra had little option but to recommend Central rule. Vohra held consultations with Mehbooba, BJP state chief Ravinder Raina, Omar and Congress state president G A Mir before taking the call