New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir is heading for Governor’s rule after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew support to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)-led coalition government on Tuesday, blaming chief minister Mehbooba Mufti for the deteriorating law and order situation.
Mufti tendered her resignation to governor N.N. Vohra soon after the BJP’s decision that reduced her government to a minority. Mufti’s PDP has 28 MLAs in the 87-member J&K assembly and needs the support of 16 more legislators to cross the halfway mark.
The BJP’s decision, which comes about two years before assembly elections are due in J&K, has pushed the state towards Governor’s rule as both the National Conference (NC) and the Congress announced later in the day that they were not keen to form an alliance with the PDP. The three parties together have the required numbers to form the government.
The National Conference has 15 MLAs and Congress has 12. BJP is the second largest party in Jammu & Kashmir with 25 legislators. Smaller parties and independents make up the rest seven seats.
BJP’s decision to pull the plug on the PDP-led government was taken after discussions between BJP party president Amit Shah, state in-charge Ram Madhav and senior leaders of the state unit.
“We want the reins of power to be handed over to the Governor. It is in the larger national interest and (in the interest of) security to control the prevailing law and order situation," Madhav said in Delhi on Tuesday.
Addressing reporters later in the day, Mufti said that reconciliation efforts, confidence building measures, talks with Pakistan to solve the Kashmir dispute were some of the reasons why PDP had joined hands with BJP.
“The agenda of PDP is healing touch. A muscular approach will not work in Kashmir. There should be reconciliation efforts. We joined the alliance with a big vision for the state," she said.
Madhav said it was sad that Mufti had failed to handle the situation in Kashmir.
Freedom of speech and press freedom were in danger in Kashmir and the murder of Shujaat Bukhari, editor of Rising Kashmir, in the heart of Srinagar illustrated the prevailing situation in the state, Madhav said.
“Terrorism and violence have increased, radicalisation has increased in the state. Right to life and free speech are in danger. The state government has failed," Madhav said. “It has become untenable for the BJP to continue supporting this alliance."