Srinagar/New Delhi, Jun 19: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday shocked its alliance partner, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), by pulling out of the coalition government in J&K, thus breaking up their second wobbly stint that began in April 2016.
Announcing the decision in a short presser, BJP’s general secretary Ram Madhav said it had become “untenable” for the BJP to continue in the alliance government in the state.
“Taking feedback from all institutions, the centre and the party was of the view that it is time the BJP withdrew from state government,” he said.
Madhav, interestingly, said the decision was taken since “fundamental rights of citizens including right to life and free speech are in danger.”
“Militancy, violence and radicalisation have risen and fundamental rights of the citizens are under danger in the Valley. Shujaat Bukhari’s killing is an example,” he said.
Madhav added that all the BJP ministers in the J&K government would resign and said the party wanted governor’s rule to be imposed in the state.
“Keeping in mind larger interest of India’s security and integrity, the fact is that J&K is an ‘integral’ part of India. In order to bring control over the situation prevailing in the state, we have decided that the reins of power in the state be handed over to the governor,” he said.
BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta told reporters in Delhi that he and his ministerial colleagues have submitted their resignations to the governor as well as to the chief minister.
“Centre did everything for the Valley. We’ve tried to put a full-stop to the ceasefire violations by Pakistan. PDP has not been successful in fulfilling its promises. Our leaders have been facing a lot of difficulties from PDP in developmental works in Jammu and Ladakh,” Madhav said.
“We are not questioning the intentions of PDP but they have failed in improving the condition of life in Kashmir,” he added.
BJP pulled out of the alliance days after two major developments. First, the Government of India’s decision not to extend the Ramadan truce in Kashmir. Second, the assassination of senior Journalist Shujaat Bukhari.
Since the two parties first came to power in 2015 during Mufti Sayeed’s time, they opposed each other on almost every second matter – over PDP’s promises of talks with separatists, the proposal to remove the Armed Forces’ Special Powers Act that gives sweeping powers to the army, the rollout of the Centre’s Goods and Services Tax, and the Kathua rape and murder case.
The BJP has 25 lawmakers and the PDP has 28 in the 89-member state assembly, both far short of the majority mark of 45.
The Congress, which has 12 members, said there is no question of an alliance with the PDP.
The other major party in the state is the National Conference, with 15 seats. Its chief and former chief minister Omar Abdullah too ruled out any possibility of an alliance.
The ceasefire was Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s brainchild, though it had met stiff opposition from the state BJP.
Sources in PDP said that after deciding not to extend the conditional truce announced by the Centre during Ramadan, the Modi government has decided to launch a tough military campaign against militants in the give a ‘free hand’ to forces to deal with the situation. The PDP did not agree to it which established the point of no return.
The Chief Minister and the PDP had also pleaded for extending the Ramzan truce beyond Eid-ul-Fitr to pave the way for holding talks with the separatists which was ignored by the Centre, the sources said.
However, sections of government forces and also senior Army commanders were against extending the Ramadan ceasefire and even eager not only to resume but also bump up anti-militant operations across the Kashmir Valley at earliest.
They were planning to launch ‘Operation All Out II’ against the militants. In its first phase, more than three hundred militants, including several top commanders, were killed in 2017 and during the first four and half months of 2018.