PDP-BJP Rift: Ram Madhav Meets Mehbooba Mufti
SRINAGAR: Amid increasing strain in the coalition functioning, the BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav, the architect of the PDP-BJP alliance, called on the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti at her residence here on Sunday to discuss the prevailing crisis even as a civilian was killed in a grenade attack in Srinagar.
The meeting comes at a time when the coalition partners are drifting away on the issues which they had agreed to work on in their governance agenda, particularly on the matter of holding a dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference leadership. In a snub to the state government, the Centre last week told the apex court that it was not going to hold talks with the Hurriyat.
According to officials, Madhav, who is the point man of the RSS/BJP right-wing for Kashmir, called on Mehbooba Mufti at her Fairview residence in Gupkar on Sunday afternoon, and the two are believed to have discussed the prevailing situation in the Valley where nearly one and half dozen civilians have been killed by forces in April alone while dealing with protesters.
Sources said the Chief Minister is not happy with the way the coalition is functioning and she has already discussed the issue with the senior party leaders, "There is no commitment from the BJP on implementing the political component of the alliance agenda which has made the situation very sensitive," sources in PDP said.
Mehbooba had met the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Home Minister Rajnath Singh last week in the national capital. After her meeting, she had told reporters that it is difficult to bring peace in Kashmir in absence of dialogue with the separatists and that talks can't be held against the backdrop of guns and stones.
"While the PM is not against holding dialogue, the statements of Madhav and (BJP president) Amit Shah are making matters even worse for the Chief Minister as they have repeatedly voiced their resentment against holding talks with Hurriyat. This doesn't bode well for the future of our alliance," a senior PDP leader said.
A day ahead of his meeting with Mehbooba, Madhav, who stitched the PDP-BJP alliance along with the PDP leader and J&K's finance minister, Dr Hasten Drabu, posted a controversial status update of his Facebook page, asserting that there will be no dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference leadership.
"The separatists have only one motto: One dead body a day, so that they can play sentimental politics over the dead bodies. They use people of the Valley as scapegoats in their reprehensible politics of violence and separatism," Madhav said.
PDP leader and public works minister, Altaf Bukhari, however, said "dissent is the essence of democracy", "Exclusion of the voices of dissent is against the spirit of a democratic polity. A lack of inclusive dialogue can only add to frustration and over time, generate rejection and more rebellion".
“Why is our Prime Minister, with a historic public mandate, shying away from his responsibility by not carrying forward the legacy of Mr. Vajpayee and a former Prime Minister who said ‘sky is the limit’ on the issue of Kashmir,” Bukhari said.
Meanwhile, a 65-year-old man was killed when unknown persons hurled a grenade at Khanyar police station last night. Six persons including four cops were United in the attack of which one civilian succumbed to injuries while the condition of others is reportedly out of danger.
In another incident, a civilian was injured in a firing incident outside a BJP leader's house in south Kashmir. The victim was referred to Srinagar in a critical state. It was not immediately known how he was hit. Police have registered a case and investigations are underway.
(Cover Photograph BASIT ZARGAR)