The survival chances of the BJP-PDP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir is looking grim. However in politics nothing can really be predicted until the last word is spoken.
The drama that has unfolded over the past couple of weeks following the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is only an indicator that this coalition was never on the same page.
Mehbooba clearly wants more from the BJP in the form of several assurances. Be it speaking of the beef ban or Article 370 (special status), the PDP has sought an assurance from none less than the Prime Minister on these issues. The BJP has sought 8 to 10 days time to take a final call on the issue.
The coalition that never was
After the passing away of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, none expected that his daughter Mehbooba would allow a peaceful transition. For starters she was never in favour of this alliance since the start. When her father was in talks with the BJP following a fractured mandate in Jammu and Kashmir, she was always opposed to the idea.
However Mufti Sayeed had other problems. For instance the government in Jammu and Kashmir was in urgent need of funds following the floods that devastated the state. His only option was to go with the BJP since it was the party that was ruling at the centre as well. Mufti Sayeed felt that this coalition would help bring in the central funds faster.
After a lot of talking the PDP and the BJP managed to put together a government. What can one say about this government. They were never on the same page, but it did survive. Trouble began once the PDP decided to release Kashmiri separatist Masarat Alam. This did not go down too well with the BJP.
This was followed by a host of other incidents such as talk on beef ban and also Article 370 by members of the BJP which did not go down well with the PDP.
All these clearly show that the two parties were never on the same page. Today both parties do not want to change their stand and while the PDP upped the ante seeking more assurances, the BJP has decided to remain non-committal.
The future course of action
Mehbooba has been meeting with her party legislators over the past couple of days. There are very strong voices within the PDP which want the alliance with the BJP to break. However there are others who also ask what would be the next option if they break ties with the BJP.
Some PDP leaders feel that if the state goes to elections they may not gain entirely. While the sympathy factor will make a difference in certain pockets, there is also a section that is very angry with the PDP for allying with the BJP.
Hence the question of elections is not the best option some members of the PDP feel.
The BJP on the other hand would weigh the situation carefully. It does not want to be seen compromising too much for the sake of saving the alliance as it fears that its vote bank may erode in some pockets of Jammu.
For now it is a wait and watch game and the BJP may hope that the PDP agrees to continue with the alliance as per the original agenda of alliance.