As School Girls Join Protests Across Kashmir, Is PDP Finally Feeling the Heat?
SRINAGAR: The PDP-BJP coalition in Jammu and Kashmir is swimming against a dangerous tide amid acrimonious differences cropping up between the two parties over the recent election to six legislative council seats and the handling of the prevailing Kashmir crisis.
The crisis in the coalition spilled into the open on Thursday with the PDP General Secretary, Sartaj Madni, calling the J&K's Industries Minister Chander Prakash Ganga's remarks on dealing stone-throwers with "bullets" as "sickening utterances" which are "largely responsible" for the Kashmir problem.
"It is unbecoming of a senior minister in the government to dish out such a sweeping, sickening and intimidating statement against the Kashmiri youth. Such utterances are not only unjustifiable but perilous as well.” Madni who is the uncle of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, said in a statement.
Earlier, Ganga, a senior BJP leader and MLA Vijaypur, had said the stone-throwers are "traitors" and "bullet is their only remedy". "And if not bullets, they should be punished like the youth who are beaten with sticks by forces. Take my word that next time they won’t throw stones,” Ganga said.
The rift in the coalition follows a surprising turn of events in the legislative council earlier this week where Baqir Rizvi, an independent MLA from the arid Zanskar region of Ladakh, voted in favour of the BJP candidate in the election to six seats in the upper house of the legislature, catalysing the loss of a PDP candidate.
The coalition had an arrangement by virtue of which they would have won two seats each while the National Conference and Congress would have won one seat each. The saffron party ended up with three seats in its kitty, two more than its coalition partner.
The vote against the PDP candidate didn't go down well with the party with the PDP high command reported to have conveyed its "displeasure" to the top brass of the saffron party in New Delhi. It was reported that the chief minister has made her displeasure known to the prime minister Narendra Modi.
In an attempt to pacify its coalition partner, the BJP's General Secretary, Ashok Koul said the party stands for the development of Jammu and Kashmit and the minister Ganga's remarks were "twisted", and that he has been "misquoted".
"The minister statement may have been twisted by the media, or it is slip of tongue. Our coalition partner should brush aside such remarks. And these statements won’t make any difference in running the government,” Koul said.
Meanwhile, the PDP chief spokesman Mehboob Beg said their party patron, Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed shook hands with former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to "change such mindset" which is responsible for alienation of Kashmir youth
“This mindset and attitude of the minister needs is to a large extent responsible for unfortunate and painful situation in Kashmir. Mufti Sahab with support from Vajpayee had created at atmosphere which, unfortunately, was not followed by Manmohan Sing-led Congress government in 12 years,” he said.
(Cover Photograph BASIT ZARGAR: Girl students protest in Bandipora, across Kashmir)