Mumbai: Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana has blasted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for “running away from Kashmir exactly like the British rulers ran away from India when they could no longer take responsibility and govern", barely two days after Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray complemented the BJP for pulling out of the alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Saamana editorial published on 21 June pans the BJP’s Kashmir policy and says the BJP is shirking its responsibility by blaming it all on the PDP. “The BJP has decided to pull out of the government in Kashmir after creating an anarchy there," the editorial says.
On 19 June, Thackeray, while addressing Sena cadres on the occasion of the party’s 52nd foundation day, applauded the BJP for finally pulling the plug in Kashmir though the Sena chief did question the BJP for staying in power with the PDP for three-and-a-half years. In the last four years, the editorials in Saamana have grown more and more critical of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi reflecting the uneasy BJP-Shiv Sena relationship.
The Shiv Sena is the oldest constituent of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) but Thackeray has said that the party would not contest the next elections in an alliance with the BJP. Earlier this month, BJP president Amit Shah called on Thackeray at the latter’s residence in Mumbai to explore reconciliation but no formal announcement has yet been made by either party after this meeting.
The Saamana editorial, which broadly represents the Shiv Sena view, says the decision to share power with the PDP was a “stupid call and misadventure" in the first place. “But in its imperial zeal to capture one state after another in the country and a sense of being unconquered, the power-hungry BJP formed the government in Kashmir with PDP," the editorial says.
The country has had to pay a heavy price for the BJP’s Kashmir misadventure, the editorial says and tells the BJP that history will never forgive it for this blunder. Noting that the situation in J&K was never so bad as it is now, the Shiv Sena mouthpiece says that never before was so much blood shed in the besieged state nor had so many soldiers died before in the valley.
The editorial does not spare Modi either and blames him for “frequently being abroad" while his “babus confabulate on what is to be done in Kashmir". Referring to the frequent criticism of Jawaharlal Nehru by “bhakts" who blame the first prime minister for taking the Kashmir problem to the forum of the United Nations and hold him responsible for the Kashmir imbroglio, the Saamana editorial asks what the BJP has done in the last four years when it was given a chance to set things right.
The editorial reminds the BJP that one of the justifications given for the demonetization announcement in November 2016 was that it would bring terrorism down by cutting off the cash trail. “But after demonetization, terrorism has grown 1,000 times in Kashmir," the editorial says also reminding the BJP of its 2014 promise to help Kashmiri Pundits to return home and to repeal Article 370 of the Constitution.