Is the PDP-BJP governmentâ€™s alliance on its way to a break-up in Kashmir? Tension between the political parties of Kashmir, which includes the PDP, BJPâ€™s partner in the state government, is fast leading towards uncertainty in the Valley. And the reason is BJPâ€™S stand on Article 35 A which is part of Article 370 and give Jammu Kashmir status of a special state. BJP had been vocal against the Article 370 and 35A for a long and now it has suddenly started working on its agenda to abrogate these Articles. However, it has suddenly triggered tension in the Valley.
All mainstream political parties in the Valley has started raising strong voice against the NDA governmentâ€™s efforts to abrogate Article 2370 and 35 A. Sources say that BJP has decided that before going to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, it have to make it sure that Article 370 is abrogated. BJP feels that by abrogating Article 35 A, it will succeed in giving Jammu an upper hand in terms of population.
At present Kashmir division has more population due to which its share of Lok Sabha seats and in all other benefits which are based on population, is higher than Jammu. If 35A is removed this will give state subject (permanent residents) rights to those who migrated from other side of the border during partition (1947). Sources said BJP is trying hard for that demographic change which will be possible after abrogation of Article 35 A and which at present is in favor of Kashmir Division.
Opposition National Conference, CPI (M) and Peopleâ€™s Democratic Front have accused the BJP-led Narendra Modi government of adopting a conspiracy to try to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir. When all this was happening state Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met National Conference stalwart and sought his help to oppose BJPâ€™s efforts to abrogate article 35A. This was for the first time that Mehbooba met Farooq Abdullah after becoming the CM.
There is a strong feeling in the PDP that New Delhi used Mehbboba Mufti to implement GST in the state by false promise that it will keep silent on its agenda of abrogation of Article 370. But as soon as GST was cleared by J&K Assembly, New Delhi (BJP) started talking on abrogation of Article 370 (35A) which has not only angered opposition parties but PDP too. Perhaps this is the reason that strongest voice came from Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti against BJP efforts to abrogate Article 35A when she said that if this is the BJPâ€™s policy, then there will be no one to take Indiaâ€™s tri-color in the valley.
Section 35A is about the permanent citizenship of Jammu and Kashmir. Some 3 to 4 lakh people in Jammu and Kashmir are not permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir and are called as â€˜refugeesâ€™ who migrated to the state during partition. They even did not have the voting rights because of Article 35 A. Only Jammu Kashmir Assembly has the right to take final call on permanent citizenship. Whichever who is standing, it is decided to do it under Section 35A. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that if Article 35A is tampered with, there will be no person in the Valley to raise tricolor in Kashmir while former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah says that if Section 35A is tampered with, it would set the Valley on fire.
During the partition of 1947, a large number of refugees came to India, most of them settled in the Jammu region. Majority of them are Hindus. Their number is estimated to be around 3-4 lakhs. In his interaction with Tehelka correspondent, Rajeev Chunni, the president of refugees organization, said that Section 35A should be removed in every situation only then they will be able to get their rights. At the moment, they do not have the right to vote. The reason for this is that they do not have a State Subject (Certificate of permanent resident of Jammu and Kashmir). The petition in the Supreme Court in this regard is also under consideration.
Section 35A is a big political issue in Jammu and Kashmir. Therefore, if BJP goes ahead on its agenda there will be every possibility of break in the PDP-BJP relations. When the BJP wanted to implement GST, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had opposed it. Later, the BJP had assured them under a secret agreement that if they implement GST in the state, BJP will not insist on its main issue of Article 370. Only two weeks after the GST was implemented, the Modi government in Kashmir seems to be moving ahead of its agenda. Now it is to be seen that is Mehboobaâ€™s
opposition to BJPâ€™s efforts true to just a face saver.