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Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir after BJP ends alliance with PDP

President Ram Nath Kovind approved governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, a day after the BJP ended its alliance with the PDP.

india Updated: Jun 20, 2018 13:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Jammu and Kashmir,BJP ends PDP alliance,Governor's rule
J&K governor NN Vohra had recommended imposition of Central rule in his report to President Ram Nath Kovind after Mehbooba Mufti resigned on Wednesday. (HT File Photo)

President Ram Nath Kovind approved governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ended its alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Union home ministry said.

Governor NN Vohra recommended imposition of central rule in his report to the President, a copy of which was also forwarded to the home ministry, after Mehbooba Mufti resigned as the chief minister.

The BJP ended its almost 40-month-old alliance with Mufti’s PDP, saying it had become impossible to continue in the government in view of the growing radicalism and terrorism in the state.

The end of the coalition, on a day of intensive political action in New Delhi and Srinagar, came two days after the Centre decided to resume counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir, suspended for a month for Ramzan.

It presages a new period of uncertainty in India’s most sensitive state, wracked by almost three decades of militancy, coming a year ahead of national and state elections.

“Trust deficit, governance deficit and soft separatism — these were the three main complaints against Mehbooba Mufti when the BJP decided to pull plug on its alliance government in Jammu and Kashmir,” said a person familiar with the thinking of the Centre.

Officials familiar with the plan said the Centre will follow a hardline security-centric policy with the scaling up of counter-insurgency operations, especially in the four districts of south Kashmir — Shopian, Kulgam, Anantnag and Pulwama — that have become the hotbed of militancy in the last two years.

Although the second term of governor Vohra, 82, is ending on June 27, he is expected to continue in office, at least until the completion of the Amarnath yatra, which passes through south Kashmir districts. The annual pilgrimage to the cave shrine ends on August 26.

Security for the Amarnath yatra was a paramount concern when the government decided on Monday not to extend the month-long Ramzan halt on counter-insurgency operations.

“It was felt that without resuming operations against militants, the Amarnath yatra cannot be secured. Now, under the governor’s rule the security forces are expected to step up pressure against militants,” said a home ministry official on the condition of anonymity.

A Union minister said the government will adopt a more aggressive approach not only inside Kashmir but also along the Line of Control and the International Border as well.

The minister claimed that the security forces had inflicted serious damage on the establishment on the other side of the Line of Control, and the challenge before the government was to deal with those who create trouble on this side of the border through locals.

A former army commander, who has served in Kashmir, said security forces will have more freedom in launching operations against militants under the governor.

“The Unified Command will be under the governor, instead of the CM. This means political sensitivity won’t come in the way of operations. Take an example, if the army wants to do a hinterland operation in south Kashmir, a PDP government would be far more cautious,” the retired commander, who did not wish to be named, said.

“I am not saying there were restrictions earlier but there will more freedom now,” he added.

The BJP can also exercise direct control through governor’s rule and decide how money is spent between the three regions of the state: Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

“In three years, the outgoing government could not spend even Rs 35,000 crore, out of total 1 lakh crore of the Kashmir package,” a BJP leader said.

First Published: Jun 20, 2018 08:19 IST