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BJP summons senior J-K party leaders to Delhi

S P Sharma | Jammu |

Faced with threat of strains in its alliance with the PDP getting widened following sacking of Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, the BJP leadership has summoned its senior men in Jammu and Kashmir to Delhi to discuss the situation.

Drabu was the main architect from Mehbooba’s side to hammer out the agenda of alliance with the BJP before forming the coalition government in the state in 2015.

Drabu was sacked yesterday after his remarks that “Kashmir is not a political issue but social in nature”.

His exit from the ministry gives clear indication that Mehbooba might now start getting tough with the BJP as she has already to some extent eroded her political base in Kashmir valley by joining hands with BJP.

Drabu’s remarks at a meeting in Delhi to promote economy of the state had created a controversy giving an opportunity to his detractors to make Mehbooba take the extreme step of sacking her trusted minister.

There were reports that the coterie led by Mehbooba’s maternal uncle and vice-president of PDP Sartaj Madni was unhappy with Drabu who was an authority in financial sector and was trying to stem out corruption by introducing the online system of payments by government departments.

This was not to the liking of a section of PDP leadership and officialdom that did not want to switch over to the transparent system and wanted a free hand in disposing the budgetary grants.

Drabu had successfully handled with BJP general secretary Ram Madhav some serious differences between the PDP and BJP that cropped from time to time in the past three years.

The PDP leadership was apparently annoyed with Drabu for dismissing the political nature of the Kashmir issue although he himself had in the agenda of alliance got the clause inserted for political resolution of the problem by holding dialogue with all stake holders including the separatists who have been making anti-India statements and maligning the Indian Army and security forces.

Political observers feel that Mehbooba was driven towards sacking Drabu also by the separatists, opposition National Conference and certain other parties that described Drabu’s statement as yet another “political sellout by Mehbooba to stay in power”.

This prompted the PDP leadership to come out with a statement that the party recognizes Kashmir as a political issue and has been trying to resolve it through dialogue.

Drabu played an instrumental role to defuse tension between the two parties recently on the issue of scrapping the Articles 35A and 370 that provide a special status to J&K.

However, gulf has been widening between the two parties and the recent issue was a rejection of BJP’s demand for CBI enquiry into the alleged rape and murder of an eight year girl in Kathua district. BJP was not satisfied with the investigations by the Crime Branch of the state police.