New Delhi, June 20: Several political parties believe that the BJP pulling the rug from under the feet of Mehbooba Mufti is an attempt by the saffron party to gain its “lost ground” ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Party leaders in the state’s Jammu division said there was a growing restlessness in a section of traditional BJP voters in the Valley as the PDP-BJP government was failing to deliver on the saffron party’s two major pre-poll promises of developing and subduing terrorism in Kashmir.
With the BJP pulling out of the alliance with PDP in the state, commoners now attach their hopes with the governor’s rule to restore peace and ensure development of the state.
“It seems their (BJP’s) image is going down on the issue of Kashmir. This is a kind of rebuilding of their image and they will hope to retrieve some ground,” said Manindra Nath Thakur, an associate professor with the Centre for Political Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Even the recent rape and murder of a minor girl from a nomadic Muslim tribe in Kathua underlined the growing mistrust between the two parties with regional BJP leaders joining protests against the state police probe, which was strongly backed by the PDP.
At his press conference where he announced that the party was pulling out of the coalition government headed by Mehbooba Mufti, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav flagged the deterioration in the security situation as one of the reasons for the decision.
“The security scenario has deteriorated causing serious concern about the protection of basic fundamental rights of life, free speech, etc,” he said.
“The daylight murder of a respected editor like Shujaat Bukhari in the heart of Srinagar city is an indicator to the deterioration of the situation and the extent of radicalization,” he said.
For the BJP, Jammu and Kashmir is a matter of great national importance also, he said, adding there was a grave concern in the country over the security situation in the state.
National integration is paramount for the BJP and it cannot compromise on that question, he said.
He also claimed that resentment in the state’s Jammu and Ladakh regions has been growing over the lack of development and also because of a “perceptible sense of discrimination” felt there.
Congress chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said the PDP-BJP government collapsed under its own weight.
“BJP was under intense pressure from the entire nation because of its failure to deal with Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan as was promised by it prior to coming to the power at the Centre. In order to save political space, the BJP withdrew support but not before pushing the state into a crisis,” he said.
He said it was expected that the government will not last long because both the parties had compromised their election manifesto.
“The PDP-BJP government brought the situation in Kashmir to the level of 1990 and it is now very difficult to retrieve it from there. All the gains made over the years have been reversed. They had no other option because of the recent killings and the outrage in the country against it,” he said.
NPP supremo Bhim Singh termed the BJP move a “stunt to save its face on national level” and said this is going to be the “waterloo” for both PDP and BJP in the state.
Singh, however, congratulated PDP for “giving a loaf in power to the state BJP leaders from Jammu” and exposing their commitment towards the welfare of the people of Jammu region.
Rajiv Chuni, chairman of SOS International, an organisation of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir refugees, said the people of Jammu are very happy with the collapse of this government.
“It was an unholy alliance and just want to come to power in the state. Both parties were having different opinion on same issues,” he said.
He claimed the people of the state suffered a lot because of their ideological divide. “The biggest sufferers were the people of Jammu because of discrimination which was at its worst and not even seen in the past six decades.”
The terrorists have spread to hitherto peaceful areas and a recent grenade attack in Jammu bus stand was an eye-opener.
“It is a welcome decision though it came very late. The people of Jammu were not happy with this alliance because both the parties were pulling in opposite directions and created more confusion among the people rather than addressing the issues,” Govind Jamwal, a shopkeeper said.
He said people are looking forward towards the governor’s rule and expect things to move fast to help restore peace and normalcy in the valley and ensure development of all the three regions.
At Parade ground, Congress supporters assembled this evening and distributed sweets, danced and burst crackers to celebrate the fall of the government.
“The policies of this government deteriorated the situation. We were against the ceasefire from day one but nobody listened to us. Stone-pelters were released and their cases withdrawn,” he said.
However, Parvinder Singh said he was shocked to know that the BJP had pulled out of the coalition.
“They were running the government smoothly and faced every challenge united. The ceasefire was a good move to open up ways for the resumption of dialogue to help restore peace in the state,” he said adding the state witnessed good pace of developmental activities over the past three years.
Ankur Sharma said it is a good decision and “we are looking forward towards the governor’s rule and we are sure that the growing militancy will be curbed and the Amarnath Yatra ends peacefully.”
A Bajrang Dal leader also welcomed the BJP decision and termed it as a “good news for the people of Jammu”.
“People were very angry with BJP and had not it pulled out from this coalition, it would have lost whatever support had left for it,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)