The BJP brought Omar Abdullah’s “failed leadership” back in focus on Sunday, seeking his removal as chief minister of J&K.
This comes a day ahead of a key meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to finalise a political package for the state.
A group of party leaders, led by L.K. Advani, said Abdullah’s removal — and not the dilution of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) — will help end the strife.
“An unpopular chief minister suffers complete alienation from his people. It is time he is replaced by a more acceptable person,” they said.
It is time for action, the leaders added, and not appeasement of separatists or vote-bank politics. “The security environment must be strengthened and the miscreants must feel scared and not call the shots.”
Earlier, the leaders — including Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley — went into a huddle at Advani’s residence to discuss the possible fallout of the CCS deciding to end the AFSPA.
They said the government had completely collapsed and “the myth that these are peaceful protesters out to make a political statement was shattered on Eid. Violence was let loose in the Valley to threaten public property and human life”.
They slammed the government, saying that “instead of realising the seriousness of the problem and attempting to solve it, the Centre is living in self-delusion that by diluting AFSPA, it can appease the separatists”.
The separatists’ strategy was clear, the BJP leaders said. “They want to push the Centre to loosen the political relationship between India and J&K. Once the government loses this battle of nerves, the separatists will reject the concessions…”
They said it was the government that had failed to realise the enormity of the problem, caught between two distinct visions — “one of the Indian Army and security forces which the defence ministry is propounding, the second is the alternative vision of the Congress, which is prompted by its vote bank politics.”
However, taking a different line, BJP MP Ram Jethmalani said he favoured partial withdrawal of AFSPA but warned against doing anything that shook the forces’ confidence.