‘Security concerns’ in Kashmir force BJP to end alliance with PDP

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which heads the federal government of India, ended its alliance with the regional People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday resulting in the fall of their three-year-old coalition government in Jammu & Kashmir state and setting the stage for governor’s rule for the fourth time since 2008.

Soon after BJP pulled out after holding an emergency meeting with its state-level ministers in New Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti submitted her resignation to Governor NN Vohra.

Despite ideological differences, BJP and PDP had formed a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir to end militancy and bring peace and prosperity to the state. But the law and order situation in the state only worsened as PDP leaders led by Mehbooba openly showed their sympathy for fringe groups whom BJP viewed as a threat to national security and peace.

While the federal government kept its promise by launching infrastructure projects to change the face of the violence-wracked state and create more jobs for people, more and more youth in the Kashmir valley were posing threat to the unity and integrity of the nation by supporting divisive groups and attacking security forces. Such acts were funded by neighbouring Pakistan to internationalise Kashmir’s internal problems. The chief minister, who is also the home minister, miserably failed to quell violence in the streets.

After Tuesday’s meeting with BJP leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, party general secretary Ram Madhav said they favoured governor’s rule in the state. He blamed the PDP for failing to improve the security situation in the Kashmir Valley and cited last week’s cold-blooded killings of a senior journalist, Shujaat Bukhari, soon after he left office and an army officer, Aurangzeb, on his way home for Eid holiday. The killings happened during the federal government’s one-month Kashmir ceasefire for Ramadhan. For BJP, these incidents came as the last straw.

When the party asked Mehbooba to launch a rapid action force to arrest the killers of Bukhari, she allegedly refused. She had also not been sharing intelligence with federal agencies on sensitive issues related to security.

Terrorism, violence and radicalism have risen and the fundamental rights of citizens, including the right to life and free speech, are in danger, Madhav said at a media conference.

Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Since the chief minister has consistently failed to address the law and order situation there, the BJP decided to hand over the reins of power in the state to the governor, Madhav added.

BJP leader and deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta and his ministerial colleagues have submitted their resignations to the governor as well as to the chief minister.

Strangely, this time, opposition parties Congress and National Conference are not interested to form an alternative coalition government to run the state. The parties know that once in power, they will have to act against the same fringe groups whom they have been encouraging these past three years for their own vested interests.

After resignation, Mehbooba said in Srinagar that the PDP had always maintained that reconciliation was the key, not muscular security policy.

She said PDP had entered into an alliance with BJP not for power. She ruled out forming an alliance with rival parties.

Omar Abdullah, former chief minister and leader of National Conference, said Mehbooba should have resigned herself instead of having the rug pulled from under her feet.

Other opposition parties said BJP made an opportunistic move by pulling out of the Mehbooba government ahead of 2019 elections.