Mehbooba quits as BJP pulls out of J&K govt

Outgoing Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti addresses a press conference in Srinagar on Tuesday. PTI

Minutes after the BJP ended its alliance with the PDP, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti submitted her resignation to state governor N N Vohra.

With this, the politically sensitive border state is set to come under the governor’s rule for the eighth time in the last four decades.

 After concluding his consultations with all the major political parties, Vohra has forwarded his report to President Ram Nath Kovind for imposition of Governor’s Rule under Section 92 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. Kovind is currently abroad.

At a hurriedly called press conference at her posh Gupkar residence here, Mehbooba said she wasn’t shocked by BJP’s exit. “We didn’t do this alliance for power. We had always said muscular security policy will not work in Jammu and Kashmir. We will continue to strive for dialogue and reconciliation in the state,” she said.

Ruling out any possibility of entering into an alliance with either the opposition Congress or the National Conference, the outgoing chief minister said, “I submitted my resignation (as J&K CM) to the governor and told him that we are not looking to explore any other alliance.”

Special status intact

Mehbooba, who had the distinction of becoming the first woman chief minister of the state when she took over the reins of power after her father’s death in April 2016, said that the motive of her People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to form the government with the right-wing BJP was to preserve the special status of the state and build an atmosphere of reconciliation.

“The bigger objectives for this (PDP-BJP) alliance were unilateral ceasefire, peace in the Valley, talks with Pakistan. (Late) Mufti (Mohammad Sayeed) sahib had entered into this alliance, thinking that the BJP is a big party which had got a big mandate. It took a lot of months to come up with an agenda, whose main objective was reconciliation and dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.

While highlighting some of the ‘successes’ of her alliance with the BJP, Mehbooba said, “The biggest apprehension was Article 370, about our special status. In the last three years, we defended Article 370 in courts. We also withdrew cases against over 11,000 youths.”

Earlier, BJP national General Secretary Ram Madhav announced in New Delhi that the saffron party has decided to call off its alliance with the PDP in J&K.

“We have taken a decision, it is untenable for the BJP to continue in alliance with the PDP in Jammu & Kashmir, hence we are withdrawing,” he said in a press conference.

He held Mehbooba responsible for the current unrest in the Valley and demanded Governor’s rule in the state.

“Keeping in mind larger interests of India’s security and integrity and in order to bring control over the situation prevailing in the state we have decided that the reins of power be handed over to the Governor,” Madhav, who was the architect of ‘Agenda of Alliance’ reached between the two parties before they formed the alliance in 2015, said.

Simmering differences over a variety of issues, the latest being the Centre’s decision not to extend non-initiation of offensive action against militants and handling of the Kathua gangrape case, over a period of time had led to the culmination of the divorce between the two parties, which are ideologically on diverse poles.

The chances of a new government in the state are unlikely as the National Conference and Congress said they were not willing to form the government. In the 87-member Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, PDP has 28 legislators, BJP 25, National Conference 15, Congress 12, Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference 2, CPI 1, Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Front 1 and Independents 3.

 

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Mehbooba quits as BJP pulls out of J&K govt

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