New Delhi: The PDP-BJP alliance for governance in Jammu and Kashmir has looked vulnerable and sensitive right from the word ‘go’ with the two parties being poles apart and pulling in different directions.
The initial days of the government have been rocky with the PDP pursuing a pro-separatist agenda which is anathema to the BJP which is focussed on and committed to Kashmir’s continuance as an integral part of India.
Close on the heels of the controversy generated by Mufti Mohhamad Sayeed’s praise of Pakistan, the Hurriyat in Kashmir and the militants in Pakistan for the peaceful elections in Jammu and Kashmir and Mufti’s strong advocacy of the Indian government holding talks with Pakistan has come the release of separatist leader Masrat Alam Bhat who had masterminded and steered the stone throwing campaign in Kashmir which led to the death of 112 people and injuries to thousands of securitymen in 2010.
The hidden message in the Mufti’s action of unilaterally holding out an olive branch to Pakistan and to the separatists and militants is that, having done a deal with the BJP in government-formation, it can afford to push the envelope to now woo India’s enemies.
The BJP is on the horns of a serious dilemma. While the PDP is flirting with the country’s enemies and thereby catering to its core constituency– the hardliners— the BJP’s core constituency, the Hindus, look upon the Mufti government’s action as sacrilege and as utterly unacceptable.
Doubtlessly, the BJP is having to pay a heavy price for the alliance with the PDP. Most BJP veterans realize, albeit grudgingly, that they erred gravely in getting into an alliance with the PDP which was avowedly on the side of the separatists.
Every time the PDP takes a reckless step to build bridges with the separatists, there is a measure of outrage at the action all across the country.
The common minimum programme which was the very basis of the arrangement between the PDP and the BJP is hardly talked about. The avowed BJP intention to work concertedly for development is virtually lost sight of.
If the Mufti government persists in wooing the hardliners the BJP would have no option but to end the alliance and crack down on the separatists. But that is in itself a chilling thought.
There is another dimension to the ascendency of the separatists under the Mufti government –the effect this would have on the dormant secessionists in Punjab.