Amarnath yatra attack: No imminent threat to alliance as PDP, BJP put up a united front
BJP sources told HT the differences that cropped up between the two unlikely partners during the 2016 unrest have narrowed and the hiccups in governance removed.Updated: Jul 16, 2017 21:06 IST
New Delhi: Pressure may be growing on the Mehbooba Mufti government after Monday’s terrorist strike left seven Amarnath pilgrims dead, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-BJP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir faces no imminent threat.
The ties between the two ideologically opposed partners have been under strain over several issues, including chief minister Mufti’s insistence on starting a dialogue with the separatist Hurriyat Conference and other stakeholders.
But both sides have managed to put up a united front after a group of terrorist opened fire at a bus of pilgrims returning from the revered Amarnath shrine.
“There is no reason for us to blame the PDP. They are not responsible for any lapses or the attack. Both partners are on the same page,” a BJP leader told HT on Wednesday.
Mufti, the first woman chief minister of the border state, can draw comfort from the fact that the killings have evoked widespread outrage in Kashmir, her political constituency.
Home minister Rajnath Singh’s remarks on Twitter, too, have been encouraging. The senior BJP leader in response to some malicious tweets had defended Kashmiriyat, or the syncretic culture of Kashmir, and went on to say that all Kashmiris are not terrorists.
The Valley has seen continuous violence since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8 last year.
Mufti’ popularity has been on the decline since then. Her government has come under repeated attack for “mishandling” of the violent street protests, with the opposition demanding its dismissal and imposition of governor’s rule.
BJP sources told HT the differences that cropped up between the two unlikely partners during the 2016 unrest have narrowed and the hiccups in governance removed.
The state government’s decision to give compensation to the family members of the dead and to the injured pilgrims was another point the two sides agreed on. “No compensation was awarded after the earlier attacks. It was a suggestion made by the BJP, which has been followed up by the chief minister,” the BJP leader said.
Mufti’s efforts to ensure that the assembly cleared the goods and services tax and her readiness to give a free hand to the security establishment, too, have apparently gone down well with the BJP leadership.
Jammu and Kashmir was the only state that had not cleared the GST, India’s biggest tax reform, that was rolled out on July 1. The state took another week to join the new tax regime after high drama in the assembly.
“The CM has agreed to the BJP’s suggestion to give a free hand to the security establishment. The terror attack was an act of desperation. The coalition is progressing smoothly, guided by the agenda of alliance,” said another BJP leader on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The terrorist attack could not be called a security failure as the forces had been foiling such attempts “100 out of 100 times”, BJP general secretary and Jammu and Kashmir in-charge Ram Madhav had said on Tuesday.
First Published: Jul 12, 2017 12:03 IST