The unlikely alliance between the BJP and the PDP was marked by deep unease over their divergent stands on a range of issues.
New Delhi: The BJP Tuesday pulled out of its three-year-old alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir.
The alliance had helped the BJP come to power for the first time in the state, but the tie-up has been marked by deep unease between the partners over their divergent stands on several issues, most recently the investigation into the Kathua gang rape and murder case.
According to reports, the BJP was especially unhappy with the handling of terrorism in the Valley.
Here is a timeline of the alliance:
23 December 2014 – Assembly elections in Jammu & Kashmir
The elections saw the largest voter turnout in 25 years, with the PDP getting the highest seat share, followed closely by the BJP. Days after the results, both the parties started official talks on drafting a common minimum programme (CMP) to build a bridge between their divergent ideologies.
24 February 2015 – Differences ironed out
At a press conference, BJP president Amit Shah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said the two parties had “ironed out” their ideological differences and were forming the government.
1 March 2015 – Government sworn in
The new alliance government takes oath, with PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed sworn in as chief minister and the BJP’s Nirmal Kumar Singh as his deputy. PM Narendra Modi attended the swearing-in. The CMP stressed that the alliance would work for the development of the state and that the government would hold “sustained and meaningful dialogue with all internal stakeholders”. The agreement also stated that the PDP would join the NDA at the Centre.
April 2016 – Mehbooba takes oath as CM
Mehbooba Mufti, Sayeed’s daughter, sworn in as the state’s first woman CM after his death. Her swearing-in was delayed by nearly three months after fissures developed in the coalition.
Mehbooba was reportedly miffed by the low turnout at her father’s funeral, especially the absence of PM Modi.
It was finally a meeting with Modi on 23 March that allowed for the re-stitching of the “unusual” alliance.
8 June 2016 – BJP warns PDP against ‘soft stand’ on separatists
The BJP warned the PDP of its “soft policy” towards separatists, alleging that the government was not doing enough to keep the youth from being lured by terrorist groups. They called for stricter action against separatists.
September 2016 – PDP founding member calls it quits
Tariq Hamid Karra, a founding member of the PDP, quit the party and Parliament, accusing the Mehbooba government of “peddling the RSS’ ideology”.
“I think they (PDP and BJP) will become liabilities for each other,” he said, adding that the alliance was treating people “much worse than Nazi forces”.
May 2017 – At crossroads over talks with the Hurriyat
While Mehbooba had expressed interest in holding talks with the Hurriyat, BJP chief Amit Shah and alliance architect Ram Madhav were adamantly against the idea.
This became a lasting point of contention between the two parties.
January 2018 – Kathua rape and murder case
BJP members in the state supported many protests against the Jammu and Kashmir police for their allegedly “biased investigation” in the gruesome Kathua rape and murder case.
The cracks in the alliance started to widen in the months after the Kathua case, with Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, then cabinet members in the state government, openly supporting the accused in a rally by the so-called Hindu Ekta Manch.
The fractures deepened as the J&K police reportedly booked an Army major and his unit for opening fire on a mob of stone-pelters in Shopian, which killed three protesters. After the Major’s father moved the Supreme Court, the J&K government said the Army officer hadn’t been booked at all.
February 2018 – CM ‘appalled’
After a group of people led by BJP leaders protested in favour of the accused, Mehbooba tweeted: “Appalled by the marches & protests in defense of the recently apprehended rapist in Kathua. Also horrified by their use of our national flag… this is nothing short of desecration.”
March 2018 – ‘Interlocutor’ sacked
Mehbooba sacks senior PDP leader and finance minister Haseeb Drabu from her cabinet over his controversial statement that J&K was not a politically problematic state or in conflict.
Drabu had for long been an interlocutor between the BJP and the PDP.
April 2018 – On the brink of collapse
Mehbooba threatened to end the alliance with the BJP. She convened a meeting of senior party leaders to discuss the PDP’s options in view of the open support given by senior BJP leaders to the alleged rapists in Kathua.
Meanwhile, J&K tourism minister and Mehbooba’s younger brother, Tassaduq Mufti, called the BJP-PDP alliance a “crime (for which) an entire generation of Kashmiris might have to pay with their blood”.
17 June 2018 – Differences over Ramzan ceasefire
Centre calls off Ramzan ceasefire and resumes anti-terror operations. The ceasefire had been the Mehbooba government’s idea, and the CM wanted it to last until the Amarnath Yatra.
19 June 2018 – Coalition crumbles
The BJP pulled out of the alliance with the PDP. “It had become untenable to continue with the PDP government in Kashmir,” said BJP general secretary Ram Madhav at a press conference in New Delhi.
Moments later, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti resigned.