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BJP pulls out; Mehbooba resigns; J&K braces for another spell of Governor’s rule

“It has become untenable for the BJP to continue in the alliance government in the state,” Madhav told reporters at a hurriedly-called press conference in New Delhi.

New Delhi/Srinagar, Jun 19: The three-year-old Jammu and Kashmir government collapsed Tuesday under the weight of worsening security situation as the BJP pulled out of its alliance with the PDP, setting the stage for yet another round of Governor’s rule.

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav made the surprise announcement after the party high command summoned its Jammu and Kashmir ministers for emergency consultations in New Delhi. A few hours later, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti submitted her resignation to Governor N N Vohra amid a swirl of political activity in Srinagar and New Delhi.

“It has become untenable for the BJP to continue in the alliance government in the state,” Madhav told reporters at a hurriedly-called press conference in New Delhi.

The BJP had won 25 seats and the PDP 28 in the 87-member Assembly and came together in alliance, two months after the December 2014 elections. The NC has 15 seats, the Congress 12 and others seven.

Although the BJP and the PDP had campaigned vigorously against each other, they came together with an “Agenda of Alliance” in the hope of pulling the state out of the cycle of violence. But the alliance never took hold and the two parties disagreed on most issues even as the security situation continued to deteriorate.

Madhav said the decision to withdraw was taken after consulting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah.

Immediately after his news conference, senior PDP minister and the party’s chief spokesperson Naeem Akhthar told reporters in Srinagar that the BJP’s decision had caught the party by surprise.

The BJP blamed the PDP for failing to improve the security conditions in the Kashmir Valley. Madhav cited last week’s killing of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari in the heart of Srinagar in the highly secured area of Press Enclave by unidentified gunmen. The same day — two days before Eid — an Army soldier was abducted while going on Eid leave and killed.

“Keeping in mind that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and in order to control the prevailing situation in the state, we have decided that the reins of power in the state be handed over to the governor,” Madhav added.

“Terrorism, violence and radicalism have risen and the fundamental rights of  citizens,  including right to life and free speech, are in danger,” the BJP leader said.

Meanwhile, Mehbooba Mufti’s tenure as Chief Minister came to an abrupt end today with a call from Governor N N Vohra, who informed  her that the BJP had pulled out of its alliance with the PDP, officials said.

It was a working day just as any other for Mehbooba, who was in her office in the civil secretariat when Chief Secretary B B Vyas received the phone call that signalled the end of her maiden tenure as Chief Minister, they said.

The Governor asked Vyas where the Chief Minister was, and asked him to immediately arrange a call with her, they said.

This was minutes before BJP general secretary Ram Madhav addressed a press conference in New Delhi around 2 pm to announce the decision.

Vyas duly arranged the call. The Governor, according to officials in the know of developments, informed Mehbooba about the BJP’s decision, which was conveyed to him in a letter sent by BJP state president Ravinder Raina along with the resignation letters of the BJP ministers.

Mehbooba, 59, listened to the news in silence, and after a pause said there was no need for talks with the BJP and she would be submitting her resignation, the officials said.

Soon after, Madhav made his announcement in Delhi, ending the uneasy, often fractious alliance between the BJP and the PDP and setting the stage for another round of Governor’s rule.

Kashmir Images
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