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BJP-PDP honeymoon ends for ‘untenable’ relationship


The ill-fated alliance of BJP-PDP has finally come to an end, as BJP has pulled out citing the relationship as untenable. Politics indeed made strange bedfellows, when three years ago, BJP entered into a coalition with People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir and formed government. Mehboba Mufti had to immediately resigned following BJP’s withdrawal of support to the three-year-old government. This decision was taken days after the Centre planned to put an end to the ceasefire operations in Kashmir and push peace initiatives in the terror-ridden valley.

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However, it was noted that terrorism almost doubled during this very period. The BJP government had taken the peace initiative to provide respite to the people during the holy month of Ramadaan, though it did not yield satisfactory results.
The PDP has maintained that the Centre needs to hold dialogues and reach out to the separatists, however the BJP holds the view that the separatists should have accepted the olive branch and taken a cue from ‘civil society’. The cracks in the alliance started growing wider when the Centre announced to end ceasefire ops and that anti-terrorism and cordon searches will resume. Two days before Eid celebration, renowned journalist Shujaat Bukhari of Rising Kashmir was shot to death by terrorists near his home, thereby dismissing any scope of continuing the ceasefire ops. While the PDP was married to the idea of a ‘peace initiative’, the BJP unit in the Jammu and Kashmir continued to oppose it.

The BJP-PDP alliance was on shaky grounds since the beginning. The PDP had put forth certain demands such as repelling the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act), holding talks with the separatists. The PDP also opposed the Center’s Demonetization move, which raised a lot of eyebrows. BJP spokesperson in the state, Ram Madhav while addressing the media said that ‘terrorism, violence and radicalisation’ have taken over in the valley.

The BJP national secretary further added that there was no ‘press freedom’ in the state. In 2014, the BJP and PDP formed an alliance after the Assembly Elections procured a fractured mandate. The BJP gained support in Jammu, while the PDP held fort in Kashmir. The cracks in the coalition also grew after the gangrape and gruesome murder of a eight-year-old girl in the Kathua district. State BJP leaders were seen advocating for the men accused of kidnapping, gang-raping and killing the child from a Muslim tribal community. Two BJP lawmakers even participated in a rally to demand justice for the arrested men, all Hindus.

What to expect in the coming days?
In the 2014 Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections, PDP had emerged as the single largest party. “The late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed formed an coalition with BJP, as it was the largest party in the country”. states Mehbooba Mufti. She also added that the ‘alliance was not for power’ and that it was formed to benefit the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The other major party in the state is the National Conference headed by Omar Abdullah and holding 15 seats. The options available to the people of Jammu and Kashmir:-

After BJP-PDP divorce, these are the four options available for the people in the valley
1. A ‘Magathbandhan’ against the BJP

PDP + JKNC + Congress = 28 + 15 + 12 = 55 seats would guarantee a majority. Or a Congress-PDP alliance= 12+28=40 (4 short of a majority). However, the Congress leader from Jammu and Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Azad has ruled out any alliance with PDP.

2. A sensational tie-up of the BJP and the JKNC. Omar Abdullah is supposedly going to meet the Governor and his party was slated to hold a briefing at 4.00 PM. BJP + JKNC = 25 + 15 = 40 (4 short of a majority)

Option 2: Governor’s rule being imposed. As such, in any other state, if there is a breakdown in the constitutional machinery, President’s rule is imposed under Article 356 of the Constitution. However, in J&K, Governor’s rule is imposed for a period of six months under a provision of section 92 of the state constitution and a proclamation to this effect is issued by the Governor only after the consent of the President of India. The state assembly will either be kept in suspended animation or dissolved and fresh polls being held.
Option 4: If the constitutional machinery isn’t restored before the end of six months, the provision of Article 365 will be extended and President’s rule will be imposed in the state.

J&K Governor Vohra’s tenure expires on June 28. It is touted that he will be given another extension. As of now the Valley is abuzz with the news that the PDP is not looking for an alliance and that Omar Abdullah has called for ‘fresh polls’ and is pushing for ‘Governor’s Rule’. The Home Minister Rajnath Singh and NSA Ajit Doval have reached Jammu and Kashmir.

Image Source/The Live Hindustan

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