Discomfort in PDP-BJP alliance in J&K

Discomfort in PDP-BJP alliance in J&K

With the Indo-Pak NSA talks reaching a stalemate over Islamabad’s insistence on talking to the Hurriyat leaders, BJP’s partnership with PDP in Jammu & Kashmir has strained further.

BJP’s reservations on Islamabad engaging the Hurriyat leaders before the NSA talks did not go down well with the PDP, which, that party’s sources indicate, was evident from the intervention of party leader and Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s daughter Mehbooba Mufti to release separatist leaders.

Hurriyat leaders were kept under house arrest after they accepted Pakistan High Commission’s invitation to meet with its National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz.

A BJP leader closely involved in the Kashmir dialogue said his party had “expressed concern” to PDP top brass over its intervention to secure the release of the separatist leaders and insisted that no third party mediation in bilateral talks could be allowed.

The leader did not reveal who from the PDP’s side pulled the strings to secure the Hurriyat leaders’ release.

Engaging all “internal stakeholders” in a “meaningful dialogue” to build a broad based consensus on resolution of “all outstanding issues of J&K” was a major aspect of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) agreed by BJP and the PDP to form the coalition government in Jammu & Kashmir on March 1. Though former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee began dialogue with Kashmiri separatists, which even finds a mention in the CMP, the Modi government significantly departed from the approach and has objected to Pakistan hobnobbing with separatists while also dialoguing with India on terror.  BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra backed Modi and said it was not “talk and terror” but “talks on terror.”

A senior party leader said the Modi government’s policy on engaging with Pakistan is radically different from the past. Since forming the government, the alliance in Jammu & Kashmir did not stabilise as the BJP and PDP deeply disagree over handling the terrorism issue.

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