Why did BJP spring surprise on Mehbooba now?

Neither Mehbooba nor her party could not remain mute to the erosion of their support base, which was pro-separatist voters.

Fearing a loss of face in the event of the PDP striking first at a later stage apparently weighed heavily on the BJP's decision to exit the Jammu and Kashmir government, which came as a big shock to Mehbooba Mufti. 

Its top leadership thought the PDP could eventually walk away at a later stage and deliver a slap on its face, insiders said.

The BJP leadership loathed to be caught in a situation like in March 2009 when BJD leader Naveen Patnaik walked out of the NDA just before the Lok Sabha polls.

Already, the rising security costs and diminishing political returns had left the BJP on the edge —  even among its core supporters.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was told by the army in no uncertain terms of a severe fallout on the peaceful conduct of the Amarnath Yatra in south Kashmir this year  — even much before prominent editor Shujaat Bukhari was gunned down in Srinagar on June 14.

The 60-day yatra is due to begin on June 28 and end on August 26. This was one of the reasons why the Centre revoked suspension of operations against the separatist militants, hitherto referred to as "ceasefire."

The army and central police officials were clear that they needed a "freer hand" to sanitise areas along the yatra.

During the month-long truce period, Pakistani Rangers and Pakistan-backed gunmen killed over 40 Indian soldiers and civilians.

Intermittent Pakistani shelling saw 1,00,000 people flee from border areas in Jammu, Samba and Kathua.

Ceasefire pacts were violated with impunity by the Pakistani army during Ramzan along the Line of Control.

The "last straw" on the camel's back was the abduction and murder of army rifleman Aurangzeb and, of course, the killing of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari, who backed the dialogue process.

Within the Union government, there was divided opinion on the "Ramzan ceasefire."

Home Minister Rajnath Singh was most enthusiastic about the peace process.

However, other ministers, particularly Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, did not share any optimism because of non-stop attacks on armymen and other security personnel.

The BJP-PDP ties were also at the rock bottom. Neither Mehbooba nor her party could not remain mute to the erosion of their support base, which was pro-separatist voters.

Her appeals to the separatists for a dialogue, too, went unheeded, showing the ineffective nature of her leadership, BJP officials said.

After three years in the government together, both sides were unable to count a single pay-off of what was once described as "the coming together of the North Pole and the South Pole" for development of the state. 



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Why did BJP spring surprise on Mehbooba now?


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