The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ended its alliance with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday. Though the nail in the coffin for the alliance is said to be the resumption of anti-terror operations after the holy Ramzan, there have been many other issues on which the BJP and the PDP have been at loggerheads in the last four years.
Here’s a look at the issues which ultimately led to end of alliance between the BJP and the PDP:
Reaching out to separatists:
While the PDP always maintained that the state and the central governments must talk to separatists, the BJP was of the opinion that they merely worked for the agenda of Pakistan and there was no point in reaching out to them. Actions were also initiated against various separatist leaders despite Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP repeatedly calling for dialogue.
Talks with Pakistan:
Since the BJP-PDP alliance came to power in Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti had often urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre to engage in talks with Pakistan. She asserted on various occasions that talking to Pakistan was the only way to resolve the Kashmir issue. The BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, however, responded to the same saying no talks can happen with Pakistan unless the neighbouring country stopped terror-related activities emanating from its soil.
Killing of Burhan Wani:
When security forces killed Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in Kashmir in 2016, the PDP had questioned the move. The issue was raised by the party even in the Lok Sabha when PDP MP Muzaffar Hussain Baig asked on the floor of the House – “what was the need to kill Burhan Wani?” He had also questioned the timing of the killing of the terrorist, which led to widespread protests in the Valley. Curfew had to be imposed in parts of the Valley due to the protests triggered by the killing of Wani.
Article 35 A:
Article 35 A of the Constitution restricts people from outside Jammu and Kashmir from buying property in the state. It empowers Jammu and Kashmir Legislature to define who are permanent residents of the state. In 2017, the BJP had proposed to repeal the law, making way for people from outside J&K to own property in the state and join government jobs. The PDP strongly objected to the move and sided with opposition parties National Conference and Congress over the issue. The matter is currently pending in the Supreme Court.
Kathua rape case:
Two MLAs of the BJP in the state had participated in protests supporting those accused in the brutal gangrape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua near Jammu. Mufti had strongly voiced her opinion over the same and even took to microblogging site Twitter to hit out at those supporting the accused. Following the outrage, the BJP had made Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga to quit as ministers in the state cabinet. However, they were later re-inducted in the cabinet through a reshuffle.
Resuming anti-terror operations after Ramzan:
The central government had suspended military operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the month of Ramzan. Though the PDP wanted the central government to extend the unilateral ceasefire, the BJP decided against it and the Home Ministry issued a directive to the armed forces to resume their operations, giving them a free hand. This did not go down well with the PDP.
Killing of Aurangzeb and Umar Fayaz:
The killing of two Indian Army personnel – Umar Fayaz and Aurangzeb – in Jammu and Kashmir is said to be another flashpoint between the BJP and the PDP. Lieutenant Umar Fayaz was abducted and killed in May 2017 by Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists. And in similar manner, the terrorists abducted and killed Indian Army jawan Aurangzeb in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir. On the same day, some terrorists assassinated Rising Kashmir editor-in-chief Shujaat Bukhari in the heart of Srinagar, raising questions on the situation in the Valley.
Public anger over the alliance:
Since the inception of the alliance between the BJP and the PDP in 2014, there was resentment over the political tie-up among the people of the state. The alliance was necessitated as the PDP bagged maximum seats in Kashmir region while the BJP won on most seats in Jammu region. After the installation of the government, when PDP patriarch Mufti Mohammad Syed died, there was not much turnout for his funeral, suggesting that people in the Valley were unhappy over the alliance.