Better late than never: The inside story of why BJP pulled out of the J&K government
"Better late than never." This is how the reactions have been to the BJP pulling out of the coalition with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir. The alliance was one of convenience and at no time did it appear that the the BJP and PDP were on the same page.
There were various factors that the BJP and PDP did not agree upon. The deteriorating law and order situation was the latest trigger for the BJP to pull out of power. With Mehbooba Mufti at the helm of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir, it had become difficult for the Centre to implement its tough stance in the Valley. This in turn was affecting its fight against Pakistan which has taken a tough posture in the past couple of years.
On Tuesday the BJP called its Cabinet ministers in Jammu and Kashmir to New Delhi to finalise the issue. The meeting was attended by BJP chief Amit Shah as well as party general secretary, Ram Madhav.
Not just many within the party, but several from the security mechanism too were upset with the alliance. While the two parties did not see face to face on several issues, the latest trigger was also the extension of the ceasefire in Kashmir. It was at the insistence of Mehbooba that the Centre decided to give ceasefire a try in the Valley. When the Centre decided not to extend it, thanks to 50 terror attacks during this period, the PDP had expressed concern.
The killing of veteran journalists, Shujaat Bukhari and Army jawan, Aurangzeb were also reasons cited by the BJP to pull out of the government.
There were various other decisions by Mehbooba that the BJP was upset with. The decision to withdraw cases against first time stone pelters. The security forces were completely against this decision and many had urged the Centre to intervene and not let the cases be withdrawn.
The other major issue is that Mehbooba completely failed to get the Hurriyat on the talks table. This had been a major deterrent for the peace talks in the Valley. The Centre had appointed Dineshwar Sharma as interlocutor in Kashmir and he had said that he was ready to meet all stakeholders.
However many felt that Mehbooba who should have ideally convened the Hurriyat failed to do so.
There was also plenty of resentment to the NIA's probe into the terror funding case, which involved several Hurriyat members. The dropping of the NIA cases became a pre-condition for the Hurriyat to come to the talks table, which the Centre was unwilling to do.
Article 379 was another major issue that came in the way of the BJP-PDP government. Many within the BJP was upset that the issue was literally abandoned by the party. Many in the party had also raised the issue relating to the Kashmir Pandits. Party leaders felt that by giving way too much leeway to Mehbooba, they were abandoning their core voter in Jammu, who had backed them in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Many also accused Mehbooba of backing soft terror. This meant she was giving away way too much to the separatists, stone pelters and also focused her approach on a re-conciliation with Pakistan which has behaved like a rogue state.
Over all the BJP felt that it has taken a soft approach to the problem, by being in power in Kashmir.
BJP sources say that the alliance had become meaningless and due to the constant meddling by Mehbooba on security related issues, not just the party's image, but the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir had taken a major beating.