New Delhi, June 20: Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Ram Madhav, who is also the party incharge of Jammu and Kashmir, Wednesday said that the decision to walk out of the Mehbooba Mufti government was taken in national interest.
Speaking exclusively to national TV channels, Ram Madhav said that the BJP sacrificed its government but did not “abandon Kashmir”.
“We gave up our state government for larger national interest,” Ram Madhav said explaining the reason why the BJP suddenly snapped its alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir.
Responding to the prevailing situation in the state, Ram Madhav said, “We could not generate enough political momentum in Kashmir.”
Ram Madhav further said that pulling out of the coalition was the demand of the time. “We tried for two years but it was no longer tenable,” he said, adding, “Every alliance has uncertainty built into it. We tried to deliver on a number of fronts. We succeeded on many, we failed on some.”
The BJP leader dismissed the apprehension that the Centre will follow what is being referred to as a “muscular policy” in Jammu and Kashmir, giving the security forces a free hand.
He said, “We are not abandoning Kashmir. We have sacrificed our state government. We will take forward the agenda of Kashmir.”
Madhav said the death of Mehbooba’s father and then chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in January 2016 was the first blow to the alliance. “In 11 months’ time, Mufti sahab passed away and that was the first setback for the alliance. Mehboobaji took her time, thus giving the impression to the opposition that she was not fully on board,” he said.
“It was a historic alliance. We do not believe in political untouchability. I agree that it was compulsion of the moment, but it was not an opportunistic alliance. Mufti described it as the coming together of the North and South poles… We tried our best to maintain this alliance and ensure that the government lasts its full term. I myself put in a lot of effort… but some alliances work and some don’t,” Madhav said.
Madhav said Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti made “no credible efforts” to restore peace in south Kashmir. “We wanted local body elections to be held. We had agreed to postpoll them till April, but I don’t see the polls being conducted in the near future either.”
Ram Madhav stressed on the BJP’s four-pronged strategy to restore harmony in Kashmir. He said that the party would neutralise terrorists in the region, further dialogue, encourage engagement with the people of the state and ensure the development of Kashmir.
Responding to a query about how Pakistan may react to the suspension of the ceasefire, Ram Madhav said that it was futile to mention Pakistan when it came to solving the problems in the Valley.
He said, “We don’t like Kashmir being hyphenated with Pakistan. We will be defeating our own purpose then.”
On the question of Article 370, Madhav said that abrogation of the special constitutional provision remained a key agenda of the BJP. However, he also said that Parliament had to take the final decision with regard to the repeal of Article 370 that accords special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
When asked why ceasefire was put into force this year not previous years, Madhav said, “There was a strong suggestion from Mehbooba Mufti and her party that let us try it out, let’s unilaterally show a gesture of goodwill.”
He said that this gesture has gone down very well with the people of the Valley and on that issue I agree with Mehbooba ji. She said yesterday that the peace has given a lot of relief to the people of the Valley. “At the same time, for that to sustain, there should be active political engagement. But that doesn’t happen if we are not able to engage with the groups that are out to create unrest in the Valley. How can we continue?”