Challenges loom for Mehbooba Mufti and PDP after BJP ditches Jammu and Kashmir alliance
Mehbooba Mufti and PDP will face resistance from their south Kashmir constituency, having lost favour over joining an alliance with the BJP.Updated: Jun 19, 2018 20:09 IST
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would have to face the anger brewing in south Kashmir – its core constituency – and struggle to keep its flock together after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) decision to withdraw from the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir.
The PDP will face a stiff resistance when Mehbooba Mufti and senior leaders go back to the areas where the party drew its influence and strength and where people have voted for them in the past many elections. The party has 28 legislators in the state assembly and most of them are from south Kashmir.
“The party has lost many supporters in the south Kashmir after it joined hands with the BJP. Now, it remains to be seen whether the party will also lose its prominent workers to any other party in the coming days,” a PDP leader, who did not want to be named, said.
“There could be efforts by the Centre to make an alternate front in the coming months and try to poach the members from the PDP. This could be the biggest challenge. It has happened in the past and can’t be ruled out in the near future. That is going to be testing time for the party,” another PDP legislator said.
Though the PDP remained in power for more than three years, it failed to achieve “peace and development” – the major poll planks of the party.
It will try to sell the amnesty given to 10,000 youths, announcement of the unilateral ceasefire during Ramzan and regularisation of daily wagers as its “major achievements”. But the escalation in militancy and the increasing number of local youngsters joining militant ranks could also prove to be a threat to the party and its grassroots workers.
The absence of her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who was considered the biggest support not only for the party but also for Mehbooba, could prove another major challenge for the party in the coming months.
The situation in the strife-torn state has changed drastically as compared to the previous elections and since Mehbooba took over as the chief minister. And with the drastic upward trend in militancy, it will be difficult for her to move around as she used to be when the PDP was out of power.
In her first press conference after resigning as the chief minister, Mehbooba talked about reconciliation, the healing touch policy and fighting for Article 370 in an indication that she will adopt the same line of politics she used from 2002 to 2014 to help her party emerge victorious once again.