Will Sacking of Nationalist Haseeb Drabu Mark the End of BJP-PDP Alliance?

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti sacked senior PDP leader and Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu from her Council of Ministers over his remarks about the state today. Drabu had created a  storm stating that Jammu and Kashmir was not a political problem or a conflict state at an event organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi on March 9, which is a against the stated position of PDP.

“I am happy that a major responsibility has been given to me by the party. I will work hard to come up to the expectation and try to strength the economic structure of the State,” Drabu had told PTI at the time of his appointment as Jammu and Kashmir finance minister

Mufti-led PDP has an alliance government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is ruling in the state. The PDP-BJP coalition government was formed after the 2015 state elections dethroned the Omar Abdullah government of the National Conference (NC).

On 10 March, speaking at an event themed ‘Kashmir: the way forward’, Drabu asked the people to “introspect” over the nature and origins of the situation in the state and how it can be resolved. “We need to talk to ourselves before we talk to others and this must happen nationally as well,” he said, according to PTI. Drabu, who has been the chief negotiator of the PDP, also held Labour, Employment and Culture Minister, apart from Finance Minister’s portfolio in the Jammu and Kashmir government.

Both mainstream and separatist parties had criticised the PDP for Drabua’s remarks asserting that the statement was proof of the “political sellout made by the party to remain in power”.  The PDP, however, on Sunday said that it recognises the state as a political issue and ever since its advent the party has relentlessly been pursuing its resolution through reconciliation and dialogue, both at internal and external levels.