Mehbooba Mufti and the start of another Kashmir crisis

SRINAGAR (TIP): Jammu and Kashmir is again facing a political crisis following the death of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on 7 January.

His daughter and heir apparent Mehbooba Mufti has so far declined to take the oath as the new Chief Minister of J&K, pushing the state under federal rule.

In the 2014 state assembly elections, the BJP won 25 seats in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region, while Mr. Sayeed’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won 28 in predominantly Muslim Kashmir.

It seems she does not want to continue with the tricky coalition with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) where her father was “not treated well” by Prime Minister Modi and the BJP in the last 10 months of the coalition government.

Limited options are making BJP nervous – This is the first time it has ever ruled in Kashmir, and it cannot afford to be out of power given that its position in Jammu has weakened in the past few months.

But can the PDP drop the BJP?
Analysts say the PDP’s options are also very limited – even if it joined hands with the Congress party (which has 12 seats) and a few independent candidates, such a coalition would be vulnerable, given the state’s dependence on the federal government.

Party insiders say that Mehbooba Mufti was against the alliance with the BJP

“I will take my own time. The Agenda of Alliance is there but I will make sure that I am able to fulfil Mufti Sahab’s dreams, especially his dreams about political issues and development,” she was quoted as saying.

“I don’t mind if I get consumed in it for the welfare of the people and also for the essence of the agenda.”

While it is not clear yet whether Ms Mufti will stick to the Agenda of Alliance with “more commitments” from Delhi, the political future of the state is uncertain.

But to be in power is the compulsion for both the PDP and BJP, which are fast losing ground in their respective constituencies.

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