17 April, 2021

A Game Of Turns And Twists

BJP believes the coalition with PDP will last—despite Sonia’s quiet reach-out to Mehbooba

A Game Of Turns And Twists

Would it have helped if the prime minister, who flew to Pathankot after the attack, had called on Mehbooba Mufti to offer condolences on her father’s death? Veteran Kashmir-watchers Wajahat Habibullah and A.S. Dulat agree it would have gone a long way, much like Indira Gandhi’s participation in Sheikh Abdullah’s funeral procession in 1982 did.

When Vajpayee visited Kashmir as prime minister after Mufti Mohammed Sayeed became chief minister in 2002, there was uneasiness in Delhi because of Mehbooba’s links with the Hizbul Mujahideen. But now, it’s more of a compulsion for the BJP to respect the coalition: after all, for the first time, it has got a foothold in the state by aligning with the PDP. Now, Modi and the BJP will have to deal with Mehbooba as a chief minister. The BJP is also running out of options because its appeal in its Jammu stronghold is waning—just as the PDP’s popularity in the Valley is for having allied with the BJP. Neither the BJP nor the PDP has delivered on its promises, and their votebanks are being...

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