Monday 25 March 2019

India's ruling party pulls out of Kashmir alliance

NEW DELHI, June 19, 2018

The chief minister of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, has resigned after the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) quit a coalition with her party, reported BBC.

The BJP said the three-year alliance with the People's Democratic Party (PDP) had become "untenable" in the wake of increasing violence.

The PDP's decision to ally with the BJP had been seen as controversial.

Its time in power was marked by rising violence in the Kashmir valley, stated the report.

Influential Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari was killed by unidentified gunmen as he was leaving his office in Srinagar last week.

Bukhari's death was cited as one of the reasons for the BJP pulling out of the alliance.

The BJP and PDP alliance was an uneasy one even at the best of times, with the two being very unlikely coalition partners on paper.

Since its formation in 1951, the BJP has maintained a hardline stance on the Kashmir issue and has stood for the repeal of Article 370 of India's constitution which grants special autonomous status to the state. In sharp contrast to the BJP, the PDP has been seen as a pro-Kashmir party.  

When the alliance was forged between then PDP leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and the BJP, many of the party's supporters saw it as a betrayal of its people and backers, said the BBC report.

This uneasiness marked the entire three years the coalition was in power. It saw increased violence and protests against Indian rule, with civilians often clashing with security forces.

The two parties disagreed over how to handle the situation. While the PDP called for more restraint, the BJP advocated a more hardline approach.

The BJP gave two main reasons for quitting the alliance: the deteriorating law and order situation in Indian-administered Kashmir, and the lack of development in other parts of the state.

The state will be put under governor's rule unless another coalition forms the government or fresh elections are called. Forming a government will require the support of 44 of the 89 legislators in the state assembly.

Tags: India | BJP | Jammu and Kashmir |

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