The Sangh had recently replaced its office holders in Jammu and Kashmir. The new RSS cadre was said to be in process of reviewing the alliance.
The BJP on Tuesday pulled out of the PDP-BJP alliance ruling the conflict-ridden state of Jammu and Kashmir. Though the announcement did come across as shocking, it really was no hidden surprise. Since the day, the parties joined hands to form an alliance government in the state, it was clear that a fallout between the two was inevitable. The differing ideologies of both the parties, which were termed as the North Pole and the South Pole, for over the period of three years, led to several incidents of confrontation between the allies.
When PDP-BJP got into an alliance with each other, they both knew that this alliance government in the state like J&K is like walking on the edge of the sword. Both knew that fall was fated. The parties only had to ensure that one of them gets bruised a little. By pulling out of the alliance first, the BJP achieved just the same.
So why in the first place the two parties went for such an “unnatural/unholy” alliance?
The Marriage of convenience:
The Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections took place in 2014 when the BJP had swept the Lok Sabha polls riding on the “Modi wave”. The Congress-Mukt Bharat slogan by PM Modi had turned into a mission for the BJP. Already having won the Assembly elections in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Jharkhand, the victory in Jammu and Kashmir would be another feather in the cap of BJP. Besides, if the party was successful in forming the government in J&K, the Muslim-majority state in the country, it could prove the opposition wrong who termed BJP “Anti-Muslim”.
Thus, no matter the times Mehbooba Mufti said that the alliance wasn’t about sharing, it was indeed about the numbers.
The confrontations between PDP-BJP:
From Article 35(A) to Ramazan Ceasefire, the parties went into different directions. The incident of violence, stone pelting and terrorist attacks increased multiple folds. The killing of Hizbul Mujahiddin terrorist Burhan Wani displayed the peak point of the anger in the valley against the alliance, the Kathua case did the same.
On the insistence of Mehbooba Mufti, the Centre called for a ceasefire which was welcomed by all the J&K parties but it turned out to be a disaster. According to the official records, in one month alone 73 terror incidents were recorded. While 22 terrorists were killed the death toll of army men rose to 9. Stone pelting incidents too shot up during the month of Ramazan. While in the previous year between April 2016 to May 2017 total 258 incidents of stone pelting were recorded; during last one month, 107 such incidents were recorded.
The killing of riflemen Aurangzeb and journalist Shujaat Bukhari proved to be the last nail in the coffin.
RSS role in J&K:
The RSS leadership had always been varying of the BJP’s decision of alliance with BJP. Though the RSS man in BJP Ram Madhav was made in-charge of the state, the RSS was sceptical about the alliance lasting long. According to a report in Economic Times, the RSS also surfaced the issue of Kashmir during last two meetings with the BJP. According to the report, there was another meeting of RSS functionaries in Jammu in March in which top leaders from Nagpur participated. The meeting talked about the need for the state government to adopt a sterner approach towards militants in Kashmir.
The Sangh had recently replaced its office holders in Jammu and Kashmir. Rupesh Kumar was appointed as the new RSS Prant Pracharak in Jammu Kashmir replacing Ramesh Pappa. It was speculated that his proximity with Dy CM Dr NIrmal Singh, Minister for Health Bali Bhagat and others in BJP with ABVP background led to a biased approach in communicating with the ruling party. However, the new cadre was said to be in process of reviewing the alliance.
Is Sangh the reason behind PDP-BJP fallout?
With 2019 just a year away, the BJP cannot afford to upset RSS which played a crucial role in subsequent assembly election post-2014. The BJP has already been facing a crisis in NDA with several alliance parties turning their backs to BJP. While Shiv Sena has already announced that it will fight the next election alone, the upset TDP quit NDA earlier this years following the row over Andhra Pradesh special status. The other allies like Akali Dal, Lok Janata Party, JD(U) too are seemingly on a bitter term.
At such a time, BJP does not want to get on a wrong side of RSS. The RSS had recently called ex-president of India and senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee for an event. The Sarsanghchalak on several occasion had stressed that it does not believe in “Congress-mukt Bharat” or stifling the opposition voices. We can safely assume that it was a warning bell for BJP that RSS can even have a dialogue with Congress and define the narrative. It will not be overestimation if RSS is said to be one of the reasons why BJP dumped PDP.