Two poles that don't meet: BJP and PDP Alliance a Mistake

Two poles that don
Highlights

 Mufti Mohammad Sayeed justified about the  unscrupulous coalition of his Valley-centred PDP with the Jammu-based BJP in 2014, as the meeting of the North Pole and the South Pole, he did not realise that this puerile metaphor would provide the best explanation for its break up. The two poles can never meet.

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed justified about the unscrupulous coalition of his Valley-centred PDP with the Jammu-based BJP in 2014, as the meeting of the North Pole and the South Pole, he did not realise that this puerile metaphor would provide the best explanation for its break up. The two poles can never meet. The BJP quit the coalition on June 19, 2018. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity is on the decline. His first priority is to consolidate his Hindu vote bank.

In 2014, the BJP sensed a rare, fleeting opportunity to acquire a presence in the Valley. Parleys were begun with Mufti Mohammad Sayeed before the 2014 Assembly elections. The BJP’s seats came from Jammu alone. It did not win a single seat in the Valley or in Ladakh. The PDP won three seats from Jammu and 25 in the Valley; the NC won 12 seats in the Valley and three in Jammu; the Congress won five from Jammu, four from the Valley and three from Ladakh.

The PDP had demanded “self-rule”, greater than the NC’s demand for “autonomy”; plus an external dimension. There must be an accord with Pakistan on mechanisms to link the two parts of Kashmir. Eventually, for a settlement of the Kashmir dispute. It recorded the two sides’ disagreement on Article 370, the Indian Constitution’s guarantee of “autonomy”, which has been completely hollowed out. Modi made no secret of his agenda.

When he went to Srinagar for the Mufti’s swearing in as chief minister in March 2015, he snubbed the chief minister when he pleaded for efforts at a settlement with Pakistan. The coalition stumbled along even after Mehbooba became chief minister after her father’s death. The BJP also found that its base in Jammu was shrinking. The tipping point was the rape-murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Jammu, whose body was found on January 17, 2018. Two of the BJP’s ministers in Jammu supported the perpetrators. The BJP replaced them with more rabid Jammies.

Mehbooba pressed the PM and home minister to start a process of conciliation within J&K, and with Pakistan. The rape case had exposed the depths of the divide between J&K. What shocked everyone was the spurt in local recruitment in the ranks of fighters. It was a response to the growing vandalism of the security forces. In mid-May came the “unilateral” ceasefire during Ramadan. The random cordon-and-search operations were stopped, but not basing on specific intelligence.

Nothing exposed New Delhi’s insincerity more than home minister Rajnath Singh’s appeal for talks in Srinagar on May 26, 2018. “If Hurriyat is ready to talk, we have no problem, we are ready to talk.” Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s response on May 29 was positive. If the government “gives clarity on what it wants to talk about and speaks in one language (they) are ready to join the process”. India has nothing to offer to them. On June 17, the ceasefire was ended. On June 19, the BJP ended the coalition, paving the way for Governor’s Rule. The BJP has given contradictory reasons for the step. The real reasons are the polls in 2019 and the Centre’s desire to get the PDP out of the way to crush the militancy in J&K.

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