Jammu and Kashmir’s ruling coalition collapsed on Tuesday as the BJP yanked support from Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The signs were there for months, but the break-up still surprised Ms Mufti, who handed in her resignation to Governor NN Vohra shortly after the BJP’s announcement. “Our agenda was healing touch, we can’t treat Jammu and Kashmir as enemy territory,” she told reporters. “It had become untenable to continue with the PDP government in Kashmir,” said senior BJP leader Ram Madhav, defending the move that will leave the state under Governor’s rule for the fourth time since 2008 and eight-time since 1977. Governor Vohra in the evening forwarded his report to the President for an imposition of President’s rule.
Both PDP and BJP were looking for an exit to shore up credentials among respective constituencies. BJP moved pre-emptively to seize political high ground.
2. The gulf between the partners had widened. Disagreements arose over security strategy after Burhan Wani’s killing. PDP wanted a softer approach towards stone-pelters and militants, mindful of massive resentment in Valley.
Mehbooba Mufti’s moves mollifying her supporters in the Valley by raising the ante on Kathua gang rape and Army/security forces’ operations further annoyed BJP’s constituency.4. BJP went along with PDP’s demand for a ceasefire during Ramzan. This was not reciprocated by Pakistan-backed terror groups or separatists and dented BJP’s image nationally.
The ‘pre-emptive’ strike against Mehbooba Mufti is aimed at repairing the damage. BJP was keen to pull out earlier but waited until Tuesday so that state elections don’t have to be held before 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The killing of journalist Shujaat Bukhari provided the impetus for Centre to take control. BJP will revive its hardline nationalist theme, starting with SP Mookerjee’s death anniversary on June 23.