Jammu: As the PDP-BJP alliance completes 100 days in office in Jammu and Kashmir this month, it is becoming more and more apparent that the two parties are pulling in different directions.
Many had feared this because the Jammu-centric Bharatiya Janata Party and the Kashmir Valley-based Peoples Democratic Party have two politically divergent constituencies to address.
Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Nirmal Singh declared on Monday that an announcement was on the cards from the central government allotting an AIIMS like institution to the Jammu region.
He added that the artificial lake project in Jammu city would be completed by March 2016. This contradicted Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed’s claim last month that the lake project was not technically feasible and had been shelved.
The central government had allotted an IIT to the Jammu region and an AIIMS to the Valley. While land for the IIT has been identified in Samba district, that for the AIIMS in the valley is yet to be identified.
The Jammu Bar Association, traders, transporters and politicians have been up in arms for some two months demanding that an AIIMS be established in Jammu region as well. The BJP can’t afford to ignore this.
In matters of postings and transfers of government officials too, the wedge between the BJP and the PDP has started embarrassing the coalition government — the first involving the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir.
Nirmal Singh recently said that a junior officer of the Jammu Development Authority who had been transferred should not be relieved because he (Nirmal Singh) had not been consulted.
The state government (read PDP) holds that the Kashmir Valley suffered colossal losses during the September 2014 floods and stands by the Rs.44,000 crore memo submitted to the central government for relief and rehabilitation.
Nirmal Singh stunned the PDP allies on Monday when he said that Rs.3,600 crore should be more than enough for relief and rehabilitation of flood victims.
Law Minister and PDP leader Syed Basharat Bukhari expressed shock over Nirmal Singh’s remarks but later said he had been quoted out of context by the media.
The BJP has 25 seats in the 87-member assembly, 24 from the Jammu region and one from Ladakh.
The PDP has 28 seats, out of which 25 are from the Kashmir Valley. Three legislators were elected from the Muslim-dominated Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu region.
The BJP couldn’t win a single seat from the valley.
Mufti Sayeed said before embarking on the present coalition that with the type of fractured mandate, the only way to rule Jammu and Kashmir was to keep it in one piece was through an alliance between the ideologically divergent PDP and the BJP.
As they seemingly pull in opposite directions, Sayeed’s ministers, none of whom has any ministerial experience, are also causing worry to the 79-year-old politician in the sunset of his political career.