Discordant Notes

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mehbooba_muftiThe BJP and the PDP could be headed for a split if the developments in the Sangh Parivar are any indicator. Although, at the time of going to press, the two parties were trying to project that all was well with the alliance, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has gone full throttle against the BJP’s decision to form a government with the PDP and has condemned the formation of the coalition government at its meeting held recently in Nagpur.

The road ahead for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and particularly for his ‘Man Friday’ and BJP President Amit Shah appears to be bumpy. According to sources, RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat gave Amit Shah a dressing down when they recently met. Bhagwat reminded Shah that the RSS was never in favour of an alliance with the PDP and that it was on Shah’s insistence that the alliance was formalised. The Bhagwat-Shah meeting went on for more than five hours; they were later joined by RSS Sarkaryavah Bhaiyyaji Joshi.

It may be recalled that ever since the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly election results were declared, the BJP had been hobnobbing with the PDP to strike an alliance but the RSS had made it known that it was not in favour of a BJP-PDP coalition government.

Primarily, the RSS had reservations about Article 370, which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir in the Indian Union. If that was not enough, the recent release of Masarat Alam from prison was a red rag to the RSS.

Though the PDP has claimed that the decision not to file fresh charges against Masarat Alam was taken during the 49-day Governor’s rule in the state, the RSS clearly is in no mood to relent.

As for the BJP, the events unfolding in Jammu and Kashmir have left it in a fix. The party is clearly divided between those who want to sever ties with the PDP at the earliest and some, primarily from the Modi-Shah camp, who want to give the alliance more time to stabilise.

Those opposing the alliance say that the party has compromised with the ideologies of Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, who famously said, “Ek pradhan, ek nishan, ek vidhan” (One prime minister, one flag, one constitution for the whole country, Jammu and Kashmir included.) Also, the PDP’s predisposition towards soft separatism has further antagonised this section of the party.

Furthermore, the sceptics in the BJP argue that it is very rare when both the Prime Minister and the Home Minister are cornered in Parliament by the Opposition and compelled to condemn their own coalition partner in Jammu and Kashmir.

After being goaded by the RSS and its own rank and file, the BJP has since adopted a tough stance and clearly said that it is not willing to be a submissive partner in the alliance. However, it failed to salvage the ground lost to the PDP.

“I lend my supportive voice to the furore that is there in this House and in the country. This country has never dealt with separatism and terrorism along party lines and it will never do so in the future. Today again this House should be united in expressing its outrage over any such incident. I want to assure the House that whatever has happened there (Jammu and Kashmir) after the formation of the government, the Centre has neither been consulted nor been informed…. Through this House, I want to tell the nation that this government (Centre) will not tolerate any such act,” Modi said in Parliament.

Modi’s intervention did not have too many takers. He was visibly not the same Modi who once boasted of having a 56-inch chest.

Worse was to follow when Rajnath Singh made a statement explaining the government’s position on the issue. Singh said that the need for the BJP to form a coalition government with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir would not have arisen if the Congress and others had come together for the purpose.

“We never had any relation with him (Mufti). You had a long association with him. Our relation is only nine days old. Koi rang chadha hoga toh aapka chadha hai. Jis chaman ko aapne ujaad diya tha hum use aabaad karne ki koshish kar rahein hain (Yes, there is a coalition government but the BJP wouldn’t ever compromise on any issue that would possibly go against national interest),” Singh said, which smacked of desperation.

The game is slipping from Modi’s hand and it is Mufti, not him, and the PDP, not the BJP, who are reaping the maximum benefit from it.

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