All political parties refuse to form alternate Govt
JAMMU, June 19: In less than three years and four months of functioning, the PDP-BJP Alliance, which was cobbled up by the two parties sidestepping series of contentious issues by forming ‘Agenda of Alliance’, fell apart today with BJP opting out of the Government citing increase in terror incidents, violence, radicalization and discrimination with Jammu and Ladakh regions after which Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti submitted her resignation to Governor NN Vohra.
With no other political party or combination of parties coming forward to form alternative Government in the State after Mehbooba’s resignation, Jammu and Kashmir was all set to come under another spell of Governor’s rule.
Late in the evening, Vohra after concluding his consultations with all major political parties in the State, forwarded his report to President Ram Nath Kovind recommending imposition of Governor’s rule under Section 92 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.
A Raj Bhavan spokesman said Vohra received a letter by fax jointly signed by BJP State president Ravinder Raina and Legislature Party leader Kavinder Gupta announcing withdrawal of BJP’s support to the coalition Government. Thereafter Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tendered her resignation and the Governor asked her to continue in office till alternate arrangements are made.
“The Governor spoke to Mehbooba and Kavinder to ascertain whether their respective parties intended to explore alternative alliances to form the Government in the State and was informed in negative by both the leaders. The Governor then spoke to PCC (I) chief GA Mir, who informed that the party didn’t have numerical strength to form Government on its own or in alliance. Later, Vohra had a meeting with NC vice president Omar Abdullah, who stated that there was no alternative to Governor’s rule and elections,” the spokesman said.
He added that after concluding consultations with major political parties, the Governor has recommended imposition of Governor’s rule in the State.
Soon after the BJP decision to withdraw support followed by Mehbooba’s resignation, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh held high-level review of security situation in J&K with top officials.
The sudden decision by BJP president Amit Shah to withdraw support from the PDP Government, which took political circles not only in Jammu and Kashmir but across the country by surprise, came during a meeting Shah had with all 10 BJP Ministers and senior office bearers from the State including party president Ravinder Raina in New Delhi at 12 noon today. BJP general secretary and party’s pointman on Jammu and Kashmir, Ram Madhav was also present.
Soon after Ram Madhav, who was flanked by Minister of State in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh, Ravinder Raina and outgoing Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta, announced the party’s decision of the BJP walking out of the PDP-BJP Alliance Government at a press conference in New Delhi, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti sent her resignation to the Governor as her party, the PDP, was reduced to minority.
PDP is the single largest party in the Legislative Assembly with 28 MLAs followed by BJP with 25, National Conference 15 and Congress 12 in the House of 87. People’s Conference, a BJP ally, has two MLAs. There are five Independents and Others.
With no party coming forward to cobble up an alliance or even trying to make an attempt to form an alternate Government, the State now headed for imposition of Governor’s rule and the Legislative Assembly might be kept under suspended animation, until revived for formation of new Government.
Mehbooba, the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, who had taken over the reign of affairs on April 4, 2016 after the sudden demise of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, spared no time in resigning and immediately sent her resignation to the Governor. The BJP Ministers forwarded their resignations to the Chief Minister from New Delhi after Amit Shah announced the decision to opt out of the Government in Jammu and Kashmir. Mehbooba was heading 24-member Council of Ministry including 13 from PDP, 10 from BJP and one from People’s Conference, a BJP ally.
Ram Madhav cited increase in terrorism, violence and radicalization in Kashmir, day-light killing of Editor Shujaat Bukhari in the heart of Srinagar City and discrimination with Jammu and Ladakh regions as some of the reasons for opting out of the coalition Government with the PDP. He said the BJP wanted that reins of power in J&K be handed over to the Governor.
Significantly, prior to the announcement of the BJP decision, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval met Amit Shah for half an hour and briefed him on the security situation of Jammu and Kashmir. Sources said the Centre Government could take some harsh decisions to curb militancy and violence in the Kashmir valley, which have gone up.
Doval doctrine on Kashmir is known to be the hard approach for crushing militants.
With Ram Madhav’s announcement that the BJP was walking out of the Alliance, the three-year and three month old PDP-BJP coalition Government, wracked by bitter political feuds and worsening security challenges, collapsed even as the State Assembly still had a term of nearly two years and nine months.
“It has become untenable for the BJP to continue in the Alliance Government in the State,” Madhav told reporters in New Delhi.
Although the BJP and the PDP had campaigned vigorously against each other, they came together with an Agenda of Alliance in the hope of pulling the State out of the cycle of violence and formed Government on March 1, 2015. But the Alliance never took hold and the two parties disagreed on most issues even as the security situation continued to deteriorate.
Madhav said the decision to withdraw support was taken after consulting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah.
The BJP blamed the PDP for failing to improve the security conditions in the Kashmir valley. Madhav cited last week’s killing of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari in the heart of Srinagar in the highly secured area of Press Enclave by unidentified gunmen. The same day — two days before Eid — an Army jawan was abducted while going on Eid leave and killed.
“Keeping in mind that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and in order to control the prevailing situation in the State, we have decided that the reins of power in the State be handed over to the Governor,” Madhav added.
Terrorism, violence and radicalism have risen and the fundamental rights of citizens, including right to life and free speech, are in danger, the BJP leader said, adding that Jammu and Ladakh regions were being discriminated as obstacles were raised for the BJP Ministers to give the two regions their due share.
BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta told reporters that he and his Ministerial colleagues have submitted their resignations to the Governor as well as to the Chief Minister.
“Centre did everything for the Valley. We’ve tried to put a full-stop to the ceasefire violations by Pakistan. PDP has not been successful in fulfilling its promises. Our leaders have been facing a lot of difficulties from PDP in developmental works in Jammu and Ladakh,” Madhav said.
“We are not questioning the intentions of PDP but they have failed in improving the condition of life in Kashmir,” he added.
Madhav said the Union Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended full support to our coalition Government in all respects. A major developmental package of Rs 80,000 crores was announced and 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 had appointed Dineshwar Sharma, former Director Intelligence Bureau as the Interlocutor with a mandate to engage with different sections of the society,” he said, adding: “in spite of all these measures, we find that the State Government has not been effective in addressing the core issues of the State”.
“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,” Madhav said.
“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,” he added.
On the other hand, Madhav said, 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 lackluster to the needs of the people of these regions”, he added.
It may be mentioned here that only on April 30 this year, the BJP and PDP had carried out major reshuffle in the Council of Ministry by inducting new faces and dropping others.