Mehbooba Mufti's PDP asserted that the Centre needed to reach out to the separatists. (File)
New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir's ruling coalition collapsed on Tuesday as the BJP yanked support from Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's People's Democratic Party (PDP). The signs were there for months, but the break-up still surprised Ms Mufti, who handed in her resignation to Governor NN Vohra shortly after the BJP's announcement. "Our agenda was healing touch, we can't treat Jammu and Kashmir as enemy territory," she told reporters. "It had become untenable to continue with the PDP government in Kashmir," said senior BJP leader Ram Madhav, defending the move that will leave the state under Governor's rule for the fourth time since 2008 and eight time since 1977. Governor Vohra in the evening forwarded his report to the President for imposition of President's rule.
Here are the top 10 updates on the BJP-PDP alliance crash:
The PDP-BJP coalition, which was wobbly from the start, flat-lined just days after the central government decided not to extend the Ramzan ceasefire on anti-terror operations. The peace initiative was Mehbooba Mufti's idea. "We brought in unilateral ceasefire which brought a lot of relief to the people. We can't have a muscular policy in Jammu and Kashmir... We weren't a part of an alliance just for power," Ms Mufti said.
Over the past few weeks, it had been a question of who would walk out first. This is the BJP's second split this year after TDP ended its alliance in Andhra Pradesh. In Kashmir, it was, however, the BJP that severed ties with ally, PDP. When party chief Amit Shah met with Jammu and Kashmir lawmakers in Delhi on Tuesday morning, there had hardly been any indication about the decision. Explaining the abruptness, Ram Madhav referred to reasons like deteriorating security and "discrimination" against Jammu and Ladakh.
The rift between the parties widened after the rape of an eight-year-old in Kathua. State BJP leaders were seen to support the men accused of kidnapping, gang-raping and killing the child from a Muslim tribal community. Two BJP lawmakers even participated in a rally to demand justice for the arrested men, all Hindus.
Mehbooba Mufti should have resigned then, suggested many, including her predecessor Omar Abdullah of the National Conference. "I had told Mehbooba Mufti to leave the coalition... I wish she had listened to me and left with dignity instead of having the rug pulled from under her feet," said Mr Abdullah, asserting that he was "mourning, rather than celebrating" what happened.
The BJP has 25 lawmakers and the PDP has 28 in the 89-member state assembly, both far short of the majority mark of 45. The Congress, which has 12 members, said there is no question of an alliance with the PDP.
The other major party in the state is the National Conference, with 15 seats. Its chief Omar Abdullah called for fresh elections and said after meeting the Governor, "NC didn't get the mandate in 2014 so even in 2018 we don't have the mandate."
For the two parties with conflicting ideologies, it had been a difficult marriage since 2015. The disputes included PDP's promises of talks with separatists, the proposal to remove AFSPA or the Armed Forces' Special Powers Act that gives sweeping powers to the army in insurgency-hit areas), and more recently, the Kathua rape case.
Defending the decision to pull out support two years before time, Ram Madhav said: "Fundamental rights of citizens including right to life and free speech are in danger."
A day before Eid, senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead along with two security guards in Srinagar. The same day, a soldier was kidnapped on his way home for Eid and killed.
"After the killing of Shujaat, there was no question of not continuing anti-terror operations," said Ram Madhav. In a series of tweets on Sunday, Union home minister Rajnath Singh made it clear that the Ramzan ceasefire would not be extended.