Will the BJP rise to the occasion to win over the alienated Jammu and Ladakh and send a right message across the nation?
The BJP, on June 19, finally took the big plunge and withdrew support to the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP coalition government, which was, in fact, a government formed with the consent of the Hurriyat Conference. (Mehbooba Mufti on December 14, 2015 had herself said: “With (former Prime Minister) Vajpayee the experience was good, but forming an alliance with the present BJP was not easy for us. It took us two months to decide the agenda of the alliance. Hurriyat party was also called and getting its consent on most of the issues the government is working”.)
The credit for the peaceful conduct of assembly elections in Jammu & Kashmir in 2014 goes to Pakistan and PoJK-based terror outfits”.
The decision of the BJP to withdraw its support to the Mehbooba Mufti government surprised all, including the PDP and the J&K unit of the BJP. It surprised them all the more because both believed that the BJP high command, which on occasions more than one knelt before Mehbooba Mufti, will never withdraw its support to the PDP-led Government.
Their belief was well-founded. After all, it was at the behest of Mehbooba Mufti that the Narendra Modi Government took several steps which only helped her promote her separatist agenda. Some of these steps included the grant of amnesty to 11,000 dreaded stone-pelters in Kashmir, an announcement of the unilateral ceasefire, called Ramzan ceasefire, and the willingness of the Narendra Modi Government to start talks with jihadis in Kashmir. All these three acts plus the mindless and senseless support of the BJP to the negative stand of the PDP on discriminatory and divisive Article 35-A, minority rights to minority Hindus, citizenship rights to the Hindu-Sikh refugees from Pakistan, construction of Sainik Colony and townships for the internally-displaced Kashmiri Hindus in Kashmir and the manufactured Rassana (Kathua) rape and murder case, demand in Jammu for a CBI probe into the case, to mention only a few, simply promoted the cult of violence, undermined national security, dumb-founded the nation and security forces and weakened and demoralized nationalist forces in the state.
The fact of the matter is that the PDP-BJP coalition government in the state was just in a name. The PDP functioned during all these 36 months or so as if it was a one-party government. The BJP ministers were there but only to endorse the PDP, obey its diktats and implement the PDP’s subversive and anti-Jammu, anti-Ladakh and anti-minorities agenda. It was the PDP which ruled the roost and the BJP played only second-fiddle to it. So much so, late Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed told Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his face on March 1, 2015, at the Jammu University’s General Zorawar Singh’s Auditorium that the “credit for the peaceful conduct of assembly elections in Jammu & Kashmir in 2014 goes to Pakistan and PoJK-based terror outfits”.
Will the withdrawal of support to the Mehbooba Mufti government or fall of the Mufti government and imposition of Governor’s rule help the BJP retrieve the lost ground in Jammu and Ladakh?
The truth, in short, is that the PDP exercised extraordinary executive, legislative and financial powers to the advantage of Kashmir and its particular constituency (in this case Muslim) and humiliated the BJP again and again in a most brazen manner with the BJP swallowing all the insults for the sake of some loaves and fishes of office. Not just this. The BJP national general secretary and in-charge Jammu & Kashmir, Ram Madhav, came to the rescue of the arrogant, ungrateful and Pakistan and terrorist-friendly PDP again, again and yet again much to the chagrin of the people of Jammu and Ladakh, who had given the BJP a status and brought it into power in the state for the first time in 67 years. One may put in any amount of effort to find if the BJP at any point of time during all these 36 months or so asserted its authority or position, he/she will come out of the exercise minus everything. Instead, he/she would come to the conclusion in no time that the BJP, instead of appreciating the 2014 mandate and the national needs, requirements and compulsions, only toed the PDP’s line and helped her radicalize Kashmir and undermine the Hindu-majority character of Jammu province.
The case in point is the February 14, 2018 Mehbooba Mufti’s written directions to the Deputy Commissions of Jammu, Kathua, Samba and Udhampur (all in Jammu province) and Inspector General of Police Jammu province and the Police “not to disturb or dislocate” members of tribal community (in this case Gujjar and Bakerwal Muslims) from the state, forest or any other land they occupied illegally. Not only this, she also directed the same day in writing to the Police that the concerned authorities will not invoke Section 188 of the Ranbir Penal Code and Cruelty to Animals Act and allow bovine smuggling. It would not be an exaggeration if someone says that she officially supported and encouraged demographic invasion on Jammu province to further the Islamists’ agenda. The helpless or power-hungry BJP knew all this but did nothing to make Mehbooba Mufti withdraw her outrageous directions. This was the status of the BJP in the coalition government that the PDP headed for three long years. No wonder then than that the BJP became thoroughly unpopular in Jammu and Ladakh and also became an object of contempt and ridicule across the nation.
Will the withdrawal of support to the Mehbooba Mufti government or fall of the Mufti government and imposition of Governor’s rule help the BJP retrieve the lost ground in Jammu and Ladakh? The answer cannot be in the affirmative, notwithstanding the fact that the people of Jammu, especially 6 million Hindus, celebrated the exit of Mehbooba Mufti from office as a day of thanksgiving and a day of deliverance. To say so is not to suggest that the BJP cannot restore the ground lost. It can retrieve the lost position provided it is willing to scrap Article 35-A, grant citizenship rights to the refugees from West Pakistan, hand over the Kathua case to the CBI for a fair and transparent inquiry, deport Rohingyas, withdraw the February 14, 2018 directions to the Revenue Magistracy and Police and reorganize the state on a regional basis to end the 70-year-old Kashmiri Muslim hegemony over Jammu and Ladakh. Will the BJP rise to the occasion to win over the alienated Jammu and Ladakh and send a right message across the nation? Only time will tell.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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