On June 19, as political experts say, the inevitable happened when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced its decision to pull out of the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, breaking its alliance with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). An emergency meeting was called in Delhi by BJP National President Amit Shah, where the decision of break-up between the two parties taken. Currently, the state is in the hands of Governor N N Vohra. This is the fourth time the state is under the governor’s rule in the last 10 years.
Reactions of commentators, politicians and others started pouring in as CM Mehbooba Mufti resigned shortly after the announcement was made on Tuesday afternoon. Former CM and leader of opposition Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter: “She was cutting ribbons while the BJP was cutting her legs out from under her. How I wish she had left with her head held high and her dignity intact! She was J&K’s CM, not for the BJPDP.”
Meanwhile, PDP was caught by surprise. The party leaders have said that they did not have any premonition of this decision. As locals rejoiced the fall of the three-year-old political partnership between the PDP and the BJP, they were also apprehensive of what lies ahead for them. “Situation has worsened in the last three year; Kashmir is still disputed with no sign of peace. Also, the killings have not stopped. It is a big relief for the people of Kashmir. It’s now up to the governor, how he will handle the situation,” said Yonus Ahmad, a local from Lal Chowk, Srinagar.
On the one hand, many restaurants offered discounts as a mark of celebration following severance of the ties, on the other hand, political experts speculate that Kashmir is returning to 90s – the state of chaos. “Rumors are making rounds that a new governor will be appointed soon. If this is true, then the situation is going to turn dangerous. It looks like 90s are back again. We are fearful of what lies ahead,” said a local on the condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, many journalists and activists have linked the split between the parties with the general elections to be held in 2019.
Gowhar Geelani, a senior journalist told Newsclick, “When the partnership was stitched together in March 2015, I had said that it is an unholy alliance. When late Mufti sahabstitched this partnership, he overestimated himself and underestimated Modi. And that’s the current situation. The kind of politics BJP has played in Kashmir, with regards to article 370 and 35A.. They would always love to have muscular and militaristic policy on Kashmir. We have seen how many problems the coalition had with each other, but at the same time despite having more seats, PDP was actually a junior partner in terms of what was happening on the ground.”
“BJP is playing muscular policy and now it wants to sell something else to the mainland India as 2019 general elections are approaching. Modi has nothing in his report card to sell to the people of India, so then Kashmir becomes a laboratory. For BJP, Kashmir is a laboratory for experiments. This time, the experiment is the Hindutva project. I am surprised that this lasted for three years and three months, but this break up was the end result.” he added.
Meanwhile, State police chief SP Vaid has said that the operations in Kashmir will be intensified. “Operations will continue. Only thing was in between, during this (Ceasefire) period, the operations were stopped. They were going on earlier also, but we will intensify these operations in the days to come. And it would be, I think, much easier to work,” Vaid told NDTV.
“There is nothing new, governor rule had happened in 90s also. Kashmir is an international reality now. Yes, we are going back to 90s and that Kashmir will ruled by India, but it’s not something new. Yes, for BJP, it may be beneficial. Government has always given free-hand to the army and the same will happen again. There is not even a single FIR filed against the army. The difference is that the operations may intensify now. And if the situation aggravates, there will be a backlash also,” said Parvez Imroz, Kashmiri human rights lawyer and civil rights activist.
“I see more tragic times coming for Kashmir, more bloodbath and more violence, which will be then propagated and marketed as a victory sign for the Modi government in the coming general elections,” added Gowhar Geelani.