Difficult But Decision Taken In Larger Interest: Ram Madhav

SRINAGAR — BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav on Wednesday said the decision of pulling out of the ruling coalition with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir was a "difficult thing to digest" for him but it was taken in the "larger interest" of people of the state and India.

"I was one of the persons involved in bringing this alliance together. I worked for 40 days with (PDP leader) Haseeb Drabu on building this agenda agreement. It was very difficult thing for me to digest when I was communicated that I should take this step now," Madhav told CNN-News18 channel.

The BJP on Tuesday suddenly exited the coalition it had formed with the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015, prompting Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to resign and Governor's rule imposed with Governor N.N. Vohra putting the state assembly in animated suspension.

Madhav also revealed that there was "enough progress" in bringing the Hurriyat leadership to the negotiating table.

"I won't say beyond that but the developments in the last two weeks have pushed us back to square one," he said.

About the strains in the BJP-PDP alliance, Madhav said that political activists in the Valley were not playing any role (towards normalisation) even after suspension of operations by the security forces.

"And then the insistence (by PDP) that you talk to Pakistan, extend suspension of operations even after broad daylight killing of journalist Shujaat Bukhari, we felt there was a growing mismatch and for us the larger interest of the state and national integrity (are more important)," he said.

Asked why Mehbooba Mufti -- who was taken by surprise -- was not intimated in advance of the BJP's decision to pull out as per the coalition dharma, he said he tried to contact her but "could not reach her".

"I did try to reach out to her before we actually sent out the fax message to the Governor. We could not talk before we sent out the fax. But it is not breaking any coalition dharma. We came together, we decided to part ways and sent this message to the Governor," said Madhav, who is party in-charge of Jammu and Kashmir.

Responding to Mehbooba Mufti's statement that a "muscular policy" cannot work in Jammu and Kashmir, he said that her political approach was different from that of the BJP's.

"We disagree with her on the usage of this term (muscular policy). Innocent policemen being killed, a journalist like Shujaat Bukhari being killed and not controlling all this -- if this is the soft approach, I am sorry we don't want that kind of a soft approach," he said.

Asked if the Ramadan ceasefire did not go down well with the people of Jammu, the core voter group of the BJP, Madhav said: "It's not about the people of Jammu. When innocents get killed, when policemen get killed, when regular attacks happen on army and CRPF convoys and security forces are seen as to be not doing anything in retaliation, naturally a bad impression is created in the rest of the country."

He said that the "risk" of suspending the operations was taken as a "goodwill gesture" but there was no reciprocation from the other side.

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