The whole truth is that the threatening Mehbooba Mufti made the BJP unpopular in Jammu province, which had given a massive mandate to it in the 2014 assembly elections
That the June 19 dramatic decision of the BJP to withdraw its support to the Mehbooba Mufti-led government in J&K would trigger a fierce debate was not altogether unexpected. It did trigger a debate. Its desperate and out-on-the-limb arch-political rival Congress and similar other outfits contested the BJP’s claim that it withdrew its support in the “larger national interest”. They all dismissed as politically motivated the BJP’s decision and sought to create an impression that the BJP took this extraordinary step only to improve its poll prospects in 2019. The debate would continue for months to come depending on what happens in Kashmir Valley post-Eid.
She never took cognizance of the fact that the BJP’s core constituencies were Jammu and Ladakh where the people had their own needs, compulsions and aspirations
Whatever one may say or not say about the BJP’s decision to withdraw its support to the Mehbooba government or about the collapse of the 40-month-old coalition of “South and North Poles”, but the fact remains that Mehbooba Mufti had crossed the red line by not just demanding extension of ceasefire for two more months but by asking the Narendra Modi Government to extend unilateral ceasefire to the borders in J&K. Unreasonable and dangerous were her demands. The unilateral ceasefire or suspension of operations during the month of Ramzan had only helped terror outfits and their cadres regroup themselves, move and launch attacks on the security forces more freely and with utmost ease, induce young Muslims to join terrorist ranks and negate the great work done by the Army and para-military forces in the state braving all odds. These were the inputs given by the security forces to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharan. To accept the demands of Mehbooba Mufti was to further endanger national security and help anti-state forces within and outside Kashmir, including Pakistan, to intensify their break-India activities.
But the insistence of Mehbooba Mufti on the extension of ceasefire post-Eid constituted just one of the two fundamental factors which left the BJP with no other option but to dump the PDP. The other factor was the manner in which Mehbooba Mufti functioned as a coalition Chief Minister and treated her ally, the BJP. Arrogant, unaccommodating and separatist-friendly as she was, Mehbooba functioned as if she was running a one-party government. She not even once appreciated the compulsions of the BJP. She, in fact, rendered her coalition partner ineffective and unreal in and outside the government for all practical purposes. All of her policy pronouncements and actions were Kashmir-centric and one-community-centric. She never took cognizance of the fact that the BJP’s core constituencies were Jammu and Ladakh where the people had their own needs, compulsions and aspirations.
Mere withdrawal of support would not help the BJP retrieve the situation in the state and win over the alienated sections of society across the nation
The whole truth is that the threatening Mehbooba Mufti made the BJP unpopular in Jammu province, which had given a massive mandate to it in the 2014 assembly elections. The BJP favoured CBI probe into the alleged Kathua rape and murder case. But Mehbooba opposed it and threw all eggs in the basket of the Kashmir-dominated Crime Branch. The BJP wanted the deportation of Rohingyas from Jammu, but she candidly declared that their “deportation would not be appropriate”. The BJP wanted Mehbooba Mufti to withdraw her February 14, 2018 directions to the Deputy Commissioners of Kathua, Samba, Jammu and Udhampur districts (all in Jammu province) and Inspector General of Police Jammu not to “disturb or dislocate” members of tribal community (in this case Gujjar and Bakerwal Muslims) from the state, forest and other lands occupied illegally by them, but Mehbooba Mufti refused.
But these constitute just three of the several such instances, including dismissal of two RSS and BJP-affiliated Law Officers on the ground that they defended in the J&K High Court cow-killing and beef-eating laws and gross discrimination with the people of Jammu, which serve to demonstrate the nature of treatment Mehbooba Mufti accorded to the BJP. No wonder then that the BJP virtually became a pariah in Jammu province with people bemoaning their decision to vote for it in 2014. Not just this, the way Mehbooba Mufti behaved also created an awkward situation for the BJP and the Narendra Modi Government across the nation. An impression went down that the BJP had compromised its age-old ideology and turned soft on separatism and that an insidious influence was at work to undo all that the nation did in Kashmir during the past 70 years to integrate the state into India. Many BJP-watchers attributed its defeats in almost all by-elections and poor performance in Gujarat and Karnataka to what they called its “weak-kneed Kashmir policy”.
The withdrawal of support to the Mehbooba Mufti-led government by the BJP needs to be viewed in this context. The decision of the BJP needs to be commended by one and all. At the same time, it would be only desirable if the BJP undo all the wrongs committed in the sensitive border state by the Congress, the National Conference and the Muftis. Mere withdrawal of support would not help the BJP retrieve the situation in the state and win over the alienated sections of society across the nation. It has to do something concrete on the ground to convince the nation that it is indeed a party with a difference.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.