Coalition prevails - Modi Reigns in Kashmir
India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) formed a coalition government in Jammu, the Himalayan region’s winter capital, following a power sharing deal, this Sunday.
Last week, the BJP and PDP finally agreed on a common agenda to jointly rule the state after weeks of intense negotiations between the two parties, which disagree on several critical issues in the region.
The details of the deal are expected to be unveiled at a press conference later on Sunday.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the Muslim head of the PDP, (pictured below) was sworn in as chief minister of the Indian-controlled region, where pro-independence fighters have been fighting against government troops since 1989.
“This is a great day. No one in their wildest dreams ever thought of this,” PDP leader Naeem Akhtar said after the inaugural ceremony, adding, “But I think Mufti Sayeed and the national (BJP) leadership of Modi, they are on a journey to turn around Kashmir.”
The Sunday inauguration comes nearly two months after the elections for the state assembly which was marred by deadly attacks across the region. The disputed territory, which has been hit by violence and bloodshed for decades, is claimed by India and Pakistan with each controlling a part of it.
BJP won 25 out of the 87 seats in the elections to the assembly, while PDP took 28, giving it the upper hand in the coalition government. Most of the votes for BJP came in the Hindu-majority valley of Jammu.
One of the main conditions set by PDP to enter the coalition has been the abolition of a controversial law which allows New Delhi immense powers to search, transgress on property and shoot. Human rights activists have long contested the law which, according to them, is a cover-up for India’s repeated violations of rights.
Former chief minister, Omar Abdullah, and his National Conference Party were sidelined after they refused to remain at the helm of the state in January, prompting New Delhi to place the area under its direct rule.
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