The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday asked all its nine ministers in the Jammu and Kashmir government to resign, PTI reported. The resignations would allow the party to induct fresh faces and retain ministers based on their performance, unidentified leaders said.
BJP spokesperson Khalid Jehangir told Outlook that the decision was not taken in protest against Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s leadership.
This comes days of strain in the relationship between the BJP and Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party, most recently over disagreements on the investigation into the Kathua rape case. Two BJP ministers, Chander Prakash Ganga and Chaudhary Lal Singh, had resigned from the Cabinet on Friday after their participation in a rally in support of an accused in the case sparked outrage.
Mufti had assigned the departments held by Ganga and Singh to Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, who also belongs to the BJP.
Earlier on Tuesday, Singh led a rally to demand an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the case, and also sought Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s resignation.
The state’s Tourism Minister Tassaduq Mufti, who is also the chief minister’s brother, said last week that the Peoples Democratic Party had become a “partner in crime” with the BJP. He warned that the PDP may have to “take one last bow” if the BJP-led central government does not act on its commitments to the state.
“If coalition politics is about living with a series of failures and ignominies, then I am sorry I don’t know how to hide my awkwardness and discomfort with it,” he had told The Indian Express in an interview.
However, on Saturday, Mehbooba Mufti and her party said the alliance was safe.
The Peoples Democratic Party has 28 legislators in the 91-member state Assembly, and the BJP has 25.