BJP timed exit so J&K doesn’t go to polls before Lok Sabha election

BJP timed exit so J&K doesn’t go to polls before Lok Sabha election

NEW DELHI: The timing of BJP’s decision to pull the trigger on its alliance with PDP was determined by a desire to ensure that the J&K assembly election was not scheduled before the Lok Sabha polls due in early 2019.

President approves governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir

Following the President’s approval, governor NN Vohra will be presiding over the state. He’s doing so for the fourth time, having overseen governor’s rule in 2008, 2015 and 2016. Vohra was set to complete his second term in a few days, but is now set to continue in Raj Bhavan till August 26.

With Jammu & Kashmir having a provision for governor’s rule for six months, the BJP leadership is keen to let this period run as close to the end of 2018 as possible. The calculation was that if the six months ended in December, it would be too close to the Lok Sabha elections to be scheduled ahead of the national polls. The electoral process for the Lok Sabha would begin to unroll from March onwards.

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Sources conceded that governor’s rule – which is specific to J&K – could be followed by President’s rule and this would also delay the assembly election. But the conversion of governor’s rule to President’s rule would need ratification by Parliament in two months or, in a month if it is in session.

How Ramzan truce brought some calm but failed at peace

According to official figures, terror incidents in J&K shot up from 20 between April 15 and May 16 to 73 during May 17-June 16. However, there was no let-up in the crackdown on terrorism with 22 terrorists killed during the ceasefire compared with 14 in the 31 days preceding the truce.

The six months of governor’s rule in Jammu & Kashmir will expire by December 19 or 20, depending on when it is imposed. By then, the winter session of Parliament is likely to have ended. So, even if it were to be followed by President’s rule, the latter would have to be ratified only in the budget session. However, had BJP pulled the plug earlier, governor’s rule would have expired while the winter session was on. With a one-month deadline to approve President’s rule when Parliament is in session, it would have required ratification in the winter session itself. The government can be expected to schedule the winter session accordingly.

After Mehbooba Mufti experiment, over to Army

Jammu and Kashmir is set for governor’s rule as the PDP-BJP coalition, divided over tackling violence in the Kashmir Valley and catering to sharply conflicting political constituencies, came crashing on Tuesday with BJP yanking the rug from under its coalition partner.

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The Centre does not envision much possibility of a reconfiguration within the current assembly as a possible alliance between PDP and Congress will be short of numbers. Besides, as of now, Congress has ruled out such an arrangement and National Conference has said it will not be part of government formation. Even after the hung House in 2015, there were discussions over a PDP-Congress alliance but this was found to suffer from lacking any Hindu Jammu representation besides needing a clutch of Independents.

Forces hope for better intelligence flow now

​​Having already resumed their “pro-active” CASO (cordon-and-search) and SADO (seek-and-destroy) operations after Ramzan in Jammu & Kashmir, security forces believe there will be a “much better flow of intelligence” for targeted counter-insurgency operations in the strife-torn state now.

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As of now, the BJP brass is looking for a spell of governor’s rule to enable it to go in for development activities that it felt were lacking in Ladakh and Jammu and press ahead with its tough security posture against terrorism and separatist leaders. The cases of money laundering filed against Hurriyat leaders by NIA have been in limbo for a while and these might be pressed with greater urgency.

PDP loses partner, and its support base

Nineteen years after the PDP was founded by her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and built by Mehbooba Mufti from the grassroots in 1999, the Kashmir valley-centric regional party is today facing an existential crisis.