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The Centre has decided to offer Jammu & Kashmir a package of Rs 80,000 crore for development in the state. Though it was done before the BJP suffered a signal defeat in Bihar, it appears to have been decided on at an opportune moment. The BJP is now very much on the defensive. The assistance offered is in addition to other financial allocations to J&K and meant to be earmarked for humanitarian relief and post-flood infrastructure reconstruction. True, the state has been through death and devastation as a result of floods in the last two years. Local youth are being alienated for growing unemployment and huge investment is called for in generating employment and skill development. However, the amount to be dished out is enormous and nearly double that the Omar Abdullah government had even asked for. The reason is not far to seek. The PDP-BJP alliance is fragile and Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, leader of the PDP, has made it clear that he calls the shots. The BJP’s growing coolness to the Hurriyat, its freezing of relations with Pakistan and the religious intolerance shown in the anti-beef campaign have antagonised the PDP and even threatened to topple its alliance with the majority party. The extraordinary security arrangements during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest visit, arrests and detentions, suspension of internet services and the violent protests triggered by his visit which caused one death had indicated the highhandedness of the ruling party at the Centre.
Modi had however, not been chastened yet by the lessons from the Bihar debacle. He tried to emphasize that the dollops of aid had been prompted by economic considerations alone and not because of political expediency. The PDP had hoped that the Prime Minister would try to reach out to the Hurriyat and Pakistan. Modi had not yet realised that his party’s warning that the BJP’s defeat in Bihar would cause jubilation in Pakistan would have the opposite effect.