The tug of war between the BJP and PDP in Jammu and Kashmir has finally come to an end. There are many reasons behind the BJP’s decision to withdraw its support. One of the main reasons behind this huge decision is the anguish among people of Jammu against the BJP. BJP won all its seats from the Jammu region but still, Jammu leaders were underrepresented in the J&K cabinet. J&K’s entire politics is Kashmir centric. Kashmir is given more prominence over Ladakh and Jammu regions. When it comes to fund allocation, both Jammu and Ladakh region face blatant discrimination. Because of the dominance of Kashmir in the political narrative through cultural connotation like Kashmiriyat, both of these regions have suffered a lot.
There is an entire history of discrimination with the Jammu and Ladakh region. In 1949, Sheikh Abdullah divided Hindu majority district Udhampur to create a separate Muslim majority, Doda district. In order to keep Muslims in the majority, Rajouri-Poonch subdivisions have been carved out of Jammu division. In 1974 also his government created Shia Muslim Kargil district by dividing Leh district.
Jammu returns 2 MPs and 37 MLAs roughly representing some 1 MP per 15.6 lakh people and an MLA per 85000 people. While Kashmir valley returns 3 MPs with one MP per 9.6 lakhs people and 43 MLAs with one MLA per 62000 people. Both the regions have an equal number of districts while Jammu is nearly 1.75 times the size of Kashmir. The state is yet to see a CM from Jammu and this is after when the Congress had fought the 2002 elections promising the Jammu electorate that the CM would be from Jammu along with a regional development board to look into the complaints of neglect by the governments. The Congress pandered to the leaders from the valley once again and formed the government with NC with rotation of the chair of CM for 3 years each between them. This was when the electorate had given them 15 seats and BJP just 9.
When it comes to development, Jammu has always received step-motherly treatment. An immense amount of tax collected from the region is spent on Kashmir. People lack even basic amenities like good hospitals, good roads and infrastructure. People of region had to fight and protest to get a university, AIIMS, IIT, IIM etc. People of region are always discriminated in the allocation of government jobs and education. In the year 2015, out of 125 selections made in the State Medical Department, only 23 were from Jammu, only 2 lecturers were selected from Jammu region out of 15 selections that were made in the State Medical College. According to Daily Excelsior, in one of the worst cases of hostile discrimination in the year 2016 in the selection made in the Higher Education Department as assistant professor, 9 candidates from Jammu region were selected against the 34 selections made (which is 26 per cent), 7 candidates were selected against total of 26 in Physics discipline, which is 27 per cent and 12 in Mathematics against total 25 selected, which is 48 per cent.
The discrimination is manifold, despite getting the less electric supply Jammu pays more. Not just this even the print media of the region faces blatant discrimination as most of the government advertisements are diverted to the Kashmiri media. Attempts were being made to diminish the identity of people of the Hindu majority region by allowing Rohingyas and Bangladeshis to settle in the region.
Thus, by withdrawing support from the PDP, the BJP believes has recaptured its voter base in the region which was getting disillusioned with the BJP on a number of issues and Kathua gang-rape case. One of the major of resentment against the BJP is its alliance partner Mehbooba Mufti’s soft approach towards stone pelters, separatists and terrorists. In February 2018, her government approved the withdrawal of stone-pelting cases against 9,730 people. Government’s decision to implement a ceasefire in the Kashmir valley during the Ramzan turned out to be a disastrous and only person who is responsible for all this is Mehbooba Mufti.
Despite this, stone pelting increased and this time tourists also died in stone pelting. All this shows how soft approach has been ineffective. Resentment among of Jammu voters increased after seeing all this. The BJP, by withdrawing support from the PDP, has shown that for them the Hindu-majority region comes first and Jammu’s trust in BJP is paramount to the party. By giving political divorce to the PDP, BJP has ensured a massive victory in the region in 2019 General elections.