The rupturing of the PDP-BJP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir was inevitable, in view of the conflicting pulls and pressure in running the administration of a violence-scarred state. The worsening law-and-order situation, triggered by a spate of killings by terrorists, often at the behest of Pakistan’s ISI, drove the last nail in the coffin. With BJP pulling the plug, Mehbooba Mufti had to resign from the post of the Chief Minister, thus paving the way for Governor’s rule in Kashmir. This is what the BJP wanted for “the larger national interest of India’s integrity and security”. The need of the hour is to bring in order amid chaos and uncertainty. When the BJP joined hands with PDP in 2015, it had accorded top priority to development of the state.
Ensuring the well-being of the Kashmiris was the only way the BJP thought it would gain acceptance in the Valley. Since then, it has been a turbulent expedition for the saffron party, with terrorism and skirmishes along the LoC registering a remarkable increase. When Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Mehbooba’s father and former CM of the state, passed away in January 2016, it was widely believed that his absence would widen the rift between the two parties. By then, the PDP’s stock had already plummeted. The strains of holding on to an alliance that was becoming a burden for the BJP had begun showing long back.
However, developments during the month of Ramzan had soured relations even further. It was Mehbooba’s idea to urge the Centre to announce a unilateral ceasefire in the Valley during the holy month of Ramadan and Amarnath yatra. The government complied in the hope that it will restore peace in Kashmir, albeit temporarily. However, all that it yielded was bloodshed. The killing of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari in Srinagar on Thursday merely hastened the demise of the combine. BJP spokesperson Ram Madhav’s statement that “fundamental rights of people in Kashmir are under threat, and even press freedom and freedom of speech are at risk” bear testimony to the fact that coalition compulsions had forced the party to seek divorce. The Kashmir situation was threatening to spiral out of control, and it needed to take drastic measures. The fissures arising out of deep ideological differences couldn’t be contained any further. However, it is the Kashmiris who will suffer the most due to this parting of ways.
There was hope that with the BJP at the state and the Centre, the aspirations of the people would be met. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s call to all stakeholders to come to the table was borne out of a genuine desire for peace and prosperity for the Valley. The peace process now looks threatened, though BJP has acknowledged the fact that strong-arm tactics will not work in the Valley. The coming days will be fraught with uncertainty.(DNA)