The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) broke its alliance with Jammu and Kashmir’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party on Tuesday, forcing Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to resign at the end of an uneasy partnership at a time when fresh violence was stalking the militancy-hit state.
“It has become untenable for the BJP to continue in the alliance government in Jammu and Kashmir," general secretary Ram Madhav said in New Delhi, blaming Mufti’s party for challenging security conditions. He did not, however, name Mufti in his address to the press.
The BJP’s decision, which was taken after consulting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah, raised the possibility of governor's rule in the politically volatile state for the eighth time, news agency PTI reported.
“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 said.
Immediately after his news conference, senior PDP minister and party's chief spokesperson, Naeem Akhtar, told reporters in Srinagar that CM Mufti will submit her resignation to Governor N N Vohra.
In the national capital, Madhav said the Centre’s ruling BJP did everything feasible for the development of the state, which has been on the boil since the killing of a militant leader two years ago.
“Terrorism, violence and radicalisation have risen and fundamental rights of the citizens are under danger in the Kashmir Valley,” he said after a meeting with state BJP leaders and ministers who were summoned to Delhi with little notice.
Madhav backed his party’s decision to join hands with the PDP after the 2015 assembly elections, stressing the BJP’s objectives were to restore peace in the state and encourage its fast development.
Madhav mentioned the Centre’s announcement of a ceasefire during Ramzan and the appointment of an interlocutor for talks with stakeholders in the Valley as confidence-building measures.
He also cited last week's killing of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari in the heart of Srinagar by unidentified gunmen.
The same day -- two days before Eid -- an army soldier was abducted while going on Eid leave and killed.
“We are not questioning the intentions of PDP but they have failed in improving the condition of life in Kashmir," he added, according to PTI.
In the 2015 elections, the BJP won 25 seats and the PDP 28 in the 87-member assembly. The Congress, which has 12 seats in the assembly, said there was no question of an alliance with Mufti’s party.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said in Delhi the BJP had committed a "Himalayan blunder" by forming the alliance, which had devastated the state in "ruins".
The other major party in the state is the National Conference with 15 seats. NC leader Omar Abdullah posted a cryptic remark on Twitter: "And so it has come to pass..."