By Prarthana Mitra
India’s ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) pulled out of an alliance with Jammu and Kashmir’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) early on Tuesday, marking an end to a volatile and largely unsuccessful period of combined rule. Minutes after the announcement, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti handed in her resignation, saying that PDP will not enter any other alliance.
Finally, it happens. The BJP has pulled out of its ruling alliance with the PDP in Jammu & Kashmir. pic.twitter.com/bH54ydM99d
— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) June 19, 2018
Here’s what happened
Calling the alliance untenable, BJP leader Ram Madhav called for governor’s rule to be imposed in the state to bring the situation in J&K under control.
In the recent light of increasing political turmoil in the northernmost state, ever since the fractured mandate of 2014 which brought the alliance about, the PDP-BJP combine had failed in restoring peace and encouraging economic development in Kashmir which was the primary objective of the alliance, said Madhav at a press conference in New Delhi.
“Keeping in mind that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and in order to control the prevailing situation in the State, we have decided that the reins of power in the state be handed over to the Governor,” Madhav said, expressing the party’s intention to hand over the power to Governor N.N. Vohra.
Why the alliance did not last
While massive ideological contradictions lie at the bottom of their inability to work together, many detractors within the BJP say the alliance was doomed from the start. Cracks also emerged in 2016, after the death of former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayyed, whose leadership and diplomatic skills had anchored the relations between the two parties.
By breaking away the alliance in Jammu & Kashmir, BJP can not absolve itself from the responsibilities as a rulling partner in the last 3 and half years.
— Rajeev Shukla (@ShuklaRajiv) June 19, 2018
The final fuel to the fire was the upcoming general elections of 2019, which the former allies could not afford to face together. The situation in the State had worsened over the last couple of years, to an extent that both core constituencies have been alienated from the PDP-BJP alliance.
A senior office-bearer of the BJP told The Hindu, “There was no way the alliance would hold till 2019. We were facing a huge backlash from Jammu and Ladakh, the areas that vote for us, and the Valley was hitting out against the PDP.”
“We had an idea that the PDP would pull out of the government by September-October, well before the February announcement of general election. By pulling out first, we can still hope to retrieve some ground”, added the leader.
Over the last couple of years, BJP has steadily lost control over the much-disputed region, as local leaders floated confident speculations that chances of re-election in 2019 were slim. Despite conciliatory overtures, to pardon first-time stone pelters, appoint an interlocutor, the Ramzan suspension of operations, the carefully crafted alliance failed to bear the historical burden of the state and the political demands of its largest regional party.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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