The Peoples Democratic Party said on Wednesday they were surprised by the timing its former ally BJP chose to pull the plug on the state government it led, even though they knew the break up was imminent.
“We were expecting it (the breaking of alliance) but were caught unawares about the timing,” said Muhammad Rafi Mir, the PDP chief spokesman.
Mir said bitterness among the former allies was “growing for sometime” on issues like ceasefire, talks with separatists and Pakistan and handling of the situation in Kashmir valley – issues on which the two parties stood ideologically divided.
On Tuesday afternoon the BJP decided to walk out of the alliance with the PDP to bring a premature end to the three year old alliance that was described by the latter as coming together of North Pole and South Pole, but had over time earned the tag of an “unholy” alliance dragged by controversies.
Party spokesman, Mir accepted that PDP’s “well wishers” were repeatedly asking it to pull out of the alliance but the party thought it would mean “betrayal with people”.
“We continued with the coalition even when Modi snubbed our leader (Mufti Muhammad Sayeed) publically (during a function here in 2015), only to respect peoples mandate,” said Mir.
“We were hoping against hope that they (BJP) will work on the issues concerning people of the state”.
Mir conceded that his party was outsmarted by the saffron party.
“Yes, we could have walked out of the alliance first but they did kind of outsmart (us),” he said.
However, he was quick to add that the BJP’s sudden move was prompted by series of losses in elections, both at state and national level and keeping in view the upcoming general elections scheduled for April-May next year but expected to be held earlier.
Such was the secrecy maintained by the BJP over its decision to end the alliance that even the leader of the government Mehbooba Mufti could get a whiff about being dumped by her saffron ally until it was actually over.
Senior leaders from both the parties kept brushing aside the reports as a “joke” until the rug was actually pulled from under their feet.
The two parties had come together in March 2015 but from the very first day the alliance remained mired in controversies which continued even after Mehbooba took over following death of her father Mufti Muhammad Sayeed in office.
Mir also acknowledged that the PDP had entered into alliance much against wishes of its voters and supporters, but justified the decision saying the party leadership had taken the plunge for “bigger goal of Kashmir resolution”.
The PDP leader confirmed that they came to know about BJP’s decision through Raj Bhavan but added they had no regrets that its previous ally didn’t take it into confidence.
“It is politics and we have no regrets,” said Mir.