Chinks in PDP-BJP coalition widen after LC Poll Verdict

Instead of defeating the opposition Congress, they (BJP) defeated their own ally (PDP),” a senior PDP Minister said.

Fresh differences have cropped up between the ruling allies, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), after the former lost a “safe seat” in the recently-held Legislative Council elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
A senior PDP minister said there was an understanding for two seats each for both PDP and BJP. “They were joint candidates and the mandate for both the parties was to get them elected. Instead of defeating the opposition Congress, they (BJP) defeated their own ally (PDP),” a senior PDP Minister told Kashmir Post.

The PDP suffered a setback when it lost the seats after independent MLA, Baqir Rizvi, whom it was banking upon for support voted for the BJP candidate. Of the total six seats, the BJP ended up winning three while the PDP and opposition National Conference and Congress won one seat each. “They (BJP) violated coalition ‘dharma’ and it seems that the party is actively conniving to undermine the coalition. This is like back-stabbing when the allies had already reached an agreement on the elections,” the PDP Minister said.
The development comes at a time when relation between the two parties is at its lowest, with the PDP feeling “let down” by its alliance partner over “lack of support” on issues including Kashmir’s political problems and state’s economic situation. Also, ever since the PDP shook hands with the BJP in 2015, it is facing criticism from opposition for “allowing RSS and other rightwing parties to strengthen their position in Kashmir”.
“It is true that the alliance wasn’t smooth; it was already bad and now this fresh development has further strained the relations,” said another senior PDP leader. “There is something called the coalition ‘dharma’ which they (BJP) have violated,” said the PDP leader.

Upset with the BJP allegedly “poaching” Bakir, the PDP had said it wasn’t a positive thing to have happened. “This is not a good development,” senior PDP leader and Minister for Roads and Buildings department, Naeem Akhter had told this newspaper.
The BJP while rejecting the poaching allegations said the PDP should have taken care of its votes. “We didn’t violate the coalition dharma. We had told them (PDP) that they should fight on two seats from Kashmir and we will contest two Jammu seats. But they insisted to fight from one seat in Jammu,” said BJP senior leader Ashok Koul.
He said the BJP never approached the Zanskar MLA (Bakir) while stating that the MLA had already expressed his reservation against the PDP. “They (PDP) should have taken care of their men. Let them give a proof that anyone of us met him (Bakir) and asked for vote. He wasn’t satisfied with them,” said Koul.

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