India: BJP move aimed at gains in Jammu, rest of India

  • BJP decision to walk out of the coalition government with PDP in J&K has been guided not just by the politics of the state but with an eye on the party vote base in the rest of the country in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
  • Though the announcement of the decision on 19 Jun 18 took everybody by surprise, BJP appears to have a clear roadmap for the state in the coming months.
  • Governor NN Vohra has already recommended imposition of Governor’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir. Sources said though Vohra’s term is ending in Jun 18, he will be asked to continue till the Amarnath Yatra gets over in Aug 18, around Raksha Bandhan.
  • The message from breaking up of the alliance with PDP will please the BJP cadre in Jammu which had been fuming since the tie-up was announced in 2015. BJP leaders maintain that the Jammu and Ladakh region were given step-brotherly treatment in disbursement of funds and other governance issues.
  • Jammu and Kashmir politics has resonance for BJP cadre across the country and the escalation in operations as well as the break-up with PDP- a party ideologically as different with the saffron party as chalk and cheese- will enthuse party supporters on the issue of nationalism.
  • This is likely to benefit BJP electorally in the coming elections, including the general elections in 2019. But the move bears the big risk of turning the simmering ‘Delhi-Kashmir divide’ into a Kashmir versus Delhi conflict.
  • What’s now emerged is a situation where the entire onus of the state, good or bad, would be on the Centre. There’s no buffer, no political cushion. More importantly, there will be no legitimately-elected Kashmiri political line of contact.
  • This is serious because it points to a political vacuum last felt during the 1990-96 governor’s rule period. Governor’s rule has been necessitated thereafter only for short stints due to local political play, like in 2008 when PDP pulled out of the Ghulam Nabi Azad government or when Mufti passed away.
  • At the same time, the political process in Kashmir may not just stall, but also diminish. And that will be, among other things, a strategic loss. The moderates in the Valley will recede or may even flee, especially after the killing of journalist Shujaat Bhukari.
  • If the past is any guide, Kashmiri politicians tend to leave the Valley during governor’s rule, spending their time in Jammu or Delhi, largely for security purposes. As a result, the point of local contact will no longer be the elected politician but the administrator, usually a tentative bureaucrat or worse still, the security personnel.
  • Be in no doubt, Delhi will be directly held responsible for all that goes wrong from now on. And if firm action against terrorism is the political claim the Centre is looking to make, then it better be cautious of the backlash.

External Link: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/bjp-move-aimed-at-gains-in-jammu-rest-of-india/articleshow/64657126.cms

External Link: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/smart-move-by-bjp-but-total-responsibility-too/articleshow/64657193.cms

20-Jun-2018


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