Authority Belittled


The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been confronting, almost routinely, its ruling partner the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), since the two joined hands for what is often described as an ‘unholy alliance’ in Jammu and Kashmir. The latest is the BJP’s opposition to the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s announcement of appealing New Delhi to enforce a unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir in view of Ramadan and Amarnath pilgrimage.
She had made the announcement after an all-party meeting convened by her to discuss the growing crisis in Kashmir Valley. Just a day after the meeting, the BJP rejected it, saying, “Her decision wasn’t in the nation’s interest.”
The issue has, once again, put both the coalition partners at the loggerheads with members of both the parties taking on each other. Prior to it, the Chief Minister had to face embarrassment on the Kathua rape and murder case in which she supported Crime Branch investigation, which was again opposed by the BJP.
On February 14, after a group of people led by a BJP leader took out a protest in favour of an accused Hindu police official in the case, the CM tweeted: “Appalled by the marches & protests in defense of the recently apprehended rapist in Kathua. Also horrified by their use of our national flag… this is nothing short of desecration.” Following public outrage, Mufti reportedly forced two BJP ministers to resign from her cabinet. However, later Chaudhary Lal Singh, former Forest and Ecology minister, reorganized rallies and demanded resignation of the Chief Minister.
Earlier this year in February, the BJP also snubbed Chief Minister for calling a dialogue between India and Pakistan to end the civilian casualties in cross-border firing and militant violence. The BJP, in a presser, took on Chief Minister by saying that “amidst the sound of bullets and missiles and spilt blood, a certain class is advocating for talks between Pakistan and India and advocating that latter must take forward step for it”.
The fourth instance of BJP outrightly dismissing the state head’s remarks as some insignificant blabber was on Article 370. It has been constantly debated between the coalition partners, with both expressing divergent views on the issue.
In 2017, Mufti said that the “anybody weakening Article 370, which grants special status to the state, will be doing the biggest anti-national act.” The statement was responded differently by the former Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh then who asserted that Article 370 has caused harm to Jammu and Kashmir and called for abrogation of the provision.
The BJP asserted that Article 35-A of the Constitution, which grants special status to the State is “not a sacred cow that cannot be touched“. In 2016, soon after when Mehbooba Mufti took over as the Chief Minister of the state, controversies started between BJP and PDP over issues of Sainik Colonies and abrogation of Article-35 A. On the floor of the house, the Chief Minister said that the state government had no proposal for Sainik colonies and the exclusive colonies for migrated Pandits. However, BJP continued supporting the idea of settling Kashmiri Pandits in transit accommodation and setting up of Sainik colonies.
The instances of the right-wing BJP blatantly dismissing almost any and all decisions of the state head and the head of the PDP, the party that it has allied with, is a never-seen political dichotomy. Questioning BJP may not be apt because they are doing exactly what their core philosophy is deemed to make them do. The ironical part here is the reticent stand PDP and its head has, time and again, taken refuge in. Forget about pulling some punches, Mehbooba Mufti and her party are not even ready to wear the gloves. They are not even acknowledging that they are getting beaten and pushed to the corner almost every time there is a challenging situation between the two so-called allies. Not every time would one expect the state head to run to Delhi to resolve her tiff with the state BJP, but not Mehbooba; she does it chronically, like an exhausted, beaten up and belittled adversary running to call the bell.