New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has withdrawn from the coalition it had formed with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir. The decision was announced by party general secretary Ram Madhav after BJP’s J&K lawmakers had a meeting with Amit Shah in Delhi.
Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has submitted her letter of resignation to the governor.
— ANI (@ANI) June 19, 2018
“Restoring peace in Kashmir and encouraging fast development in Jammu and Kashmir, these were the objectives with which we joined with the PDP,” Madhav said at a press conference. “We have taken a decision, it is untenable for BJP to continue in alliance with PDP in Jammu and Kashmir, hence we are withdrawing.”
Madhav also said that the BJP will be pushing for governor’s rule in the state, as it feels like the Mehbooba Mufti government has let down the people. “Keeping national interest in mind and that Kashmir is an integral part of India, we have to say it is time that the reins of power in the state be handed over to the governor,” he said. “We are not questioning the intention of the government but it has failed to achieve the intended objectives in Kashmir valley.
We even appointed an interlocutor for the state to talk with all the stakeholders. The Central government has done whatever the state government sought.”
“Terrorism and radicalisation is on the rise in the state. The murder of editor Shujaat Bukhari shows even press freedom is in danger,” Madhav continued.
“This is a surprise for us because we did not have any indication about their decision,” PDP spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir told ANI.
Congress leader and leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said the break up of the alliance was good for the people.
Whatever has happened is good. People of J&K will get some relief. They (BJP) ruined Kashmir & have now pulled out, maximum number of civilian & army men died during these 3 years. That question does not arise (on forming alliance with PDP): GN Azad, Congress pic.twitter.com/rcfVelHdnT
— ANI (@ANI) June 19, 2018
The PDP holds 28 seats in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly, and BJP holds 25. The majority mark is 45 seats.
The two parties have had several differences in the recent past, most recently after the Centre did not extend the unilateral ceasefire it had called in the state during Ramzan. Mehbooba had asked for the ceasefire, and the state BJP had said that it did not support the idea.
Differences between the BJP and PDP had also boiled over when BJP MLAs joined a rally in support of the accused in the gangrape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu’s Kathua.
The parties have disagreed in the past on holding talks with separatists and removal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.