The Bharatiya Janata Party has pulled out of the ruling coaltion with People’s Democratic Party or PDP, days after prominent journalist Shujaat Bhukhari was gunned down by suspected terrorists.
BJP spokesperson Ram Madhav pointed to three factors that prompted the party to pull out — rising terrorist incidents, poor law and order and an imbalance in development priorities between different parts of the state.
“The present scenario cannot be handled by the present government at this juncture,” Madhav said.
“We find our continuation in the government totally untenable. It is time matters are taken over by the governor and we can continue the political process.”
The BJP gets much of its support from Ladakh and Jammu regions, while PDP gets most of its support from the Kashmir region.
Madhav indicated that the BJP was not happy with the development priority, or the lack of it, given to Ladakh and Jammu regions.
He also there was no question of continuing the Ramzan ‘ceasefire’ given the deteriorating conditions in the state.
“If terrorists could walk into Srinagar city and kill a prominent journalist like Shujaat Bhukhaari, how do you expect for us to have asked for a continuation of suspension of operations.”
Congress spokesperson Ghulam Nabi Azad said BJP was trying to put all the blame for the mess in Kashmir on its alliance partner and ‘escape’.
“They never had any experience in administering Kashmir.. whatever has happened is good. The people of this state have been saved from this destructive rule of the past 3.5 years,” he added.
He also said that BJP leaders in Jammu & Kashmir have made money via corrupt means, such as transfers, in the hill state. “They have made all the money. Now they want to run,” he said.
Asked if the Congress Party would tie up with PDP, he said there was no question.
“They called it the coming together of the north pole and the south pole,” said Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen President Asaduddin Owaisi.
“I have seen it first hand that governance has failed. Things have not improved in the last three years,” he added.
Owaisi also said the reason why the BJP has now taken this decision is to prevent further loss of support in Jammu, an area where it gets considerable votes from.
CPIM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said BJP cannot shirk the responsibility for the situation in the state. “The BJP has been party to each and every decision taken in the government. They cannot shirk the responsibility and blame the alliance partner.”
“Now, to create further instability and deepen the feeling of alienation is not in India’s interest,” he added.
He said the BJP is targeting 2019 elections with the move. “This will be disastrous for the country if this is done for electoral politics,” he said, adding that the BJP plans to ‘increase the communal divide’ in India in coming days.
Press Statement issued by BJP National General Secretary, Shri Ram Madhav
Respecting the mandate of the people of J&K, the BJP had joined hands with the PDP to form the coalition government in early 2015. In the last three years the BJP has tried its best to work towards the state’s objective of the coalition government – peace, development and progress in all the three important regions of the state, Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir.
The Union Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended full support to our coalition government in all respects. A major developmental package of Rs 80,000 crores has been announced an a significant part of it has already been disbursed. Towards maintaining Law & Order situation in the state the Union Home Minister and the Ministry have proactively supported the state machinery as and when required.
With a view to finding amicable solution to the aggrieved sections of the State, the Union Government has appointed former DIB as the interlocutor with a mandate to engage with different sections of the society.
In spite of all these measures, we find that the state government has not been effective in addressing the core issues of the state. The security scenario has deteriorated causing serious concern about the protection of basic fundamental rights of life, free speech etc. Daylight murder of a respected editor like Shujat Bukhari in the heart of Srinagar city is an indicator to the deterioration of the situation and the extent of radicalisation.
While the security forces have done a fabulous job in the last few years in containing the situation, the primary responsibility of maintaining Law & Order, which is managed by the state government, showed severe shortcomings. Ruling political dispensation in the Valley has shown least interest in improving the situation.
For the BJP, J&K is a matter of great national importance also. There is a grave concern in the country over the deteriorating security situation in the state. National integration is paramount for the BJP and it can’t compromise on that question.
On the other hand, resentment in Jammu and Ladakh regions has been growing over lack of proper development and progress and also a perceptible sense of discrimination. The BJP members in the government have strived their best to serve the people in the state including those in the regions of Jammu and Ladakh. Yet they faced a situation where the government as a whole has been less responsive and lacklustre to the needs of the people of these regions.
In such a scenario, the BJP thought it untenable to continue in the government and hence withdrew support from the PDP-BJP coalition government in the state.