The Bharatiya Janata Party’s decision to sever its ties with the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP in Jammu and Kashmir paved way for Governor’s rule in the strife-torn state, which will be for the fourth time in the last 10 years. Politically, the move brought down the curtains to three years of coalition of ideologically opposed BJP and PDP.
In the assembly elections in 2014, the PDP emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats while BJP won 25 seats in the 87-member assembly. The two parties joined forces to form government with an Agenda of Alliance. While the Omar Abdullah-led National Conference won 15 seats, the Congress secured 12 seats in the assembly. At least 44 seats are required to form a majority in the state.
In a dramatic turn of events, the BJP pulled out of its alliance with the PDP, citing that it has become impossible to continue in the government in view of the growing radicalism and terrorism in the state. The decision to withdraw was taken after consulting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah, the party’s general secretary Ram Madhav announced at a press conference.
The BJP put the blame on the PDP for failing to improve the security conditions in the Kashmir Valley. Madhav cited last week’s killing of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari in the heart of Srinagar in the highly secured area of Press Enclave by unidentified gunmen. The same day — two days before Eid — an Army jawan was abducted while going on Eid leave and killed.
“It has become untenable for the BJP to continue in the alliance government in the state,” Madhav said at the hurriedly called press conference after a meeting with state BJP leaders and ministers who were summoned to the national capital with little notice.
“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 added.
Governor’s rule was imposed in July 2008 following the resignation of then chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in the wake of the PDP pulling out of the coalition government with the Congress over the Amarnath land row.
The state also came under governor’s rule in December 2014, following the hung verdict in the Assembly polls that year.
Governor’s rule was again imposed in the state in January 2016 following the death of then chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, as his daughter Mehbooba Mufti had shown reluctance to continue the alliance with the BJP.