Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi. (Source: PTI) 

India's Ruling Coalition Loses a Second Ally as Pressure Builds

(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling coalition lost a second political ally in three months after his Bharatiya Janata Party withdrew its support from the government in the troubled northern state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Blaming the state government-led by Mehbooba Mufti of the regional People’s Democratic Party for its failure to maintain law and order and curb a rise in terrorist activities, the BJP on Tuesday announced it had ended the alliance in India’s only Muslim-majority state.

Ram Madhav, a general secretary of the BJP, told a press conference in New Delhi that "the continuation of BJP with the government has become untenable."

Modi is unlikely to benefit politically from the situation within Kashmir, said Shailesh Kumar, Asia director at political risk firm Eurasia Group. “But he will leverage his hawkish tough-on-terror posture to shore up support amongst his base elsewhere in India ahead of the 2019 election," Kumar said. "It will also likely incentivize Pakistan to become more active in funding militant groups in Kashmir to counteract the Indian army’s advances."

Increasing Unrest

Since December, Modi’s been facing rising political turbulence. He won his home state of Gujarat on a wafer-thin majority, lost crucial by-elections in the country’s largest state, failed to form the government in Karnataka and witnessed protests by students, farmers and Dalits.

In March, regional Telugu Desam Party quit Modi’s federal coalition, blaming the government government for failing to fulfill the promise of according special category status to India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh, where the party is based.

Adding to his woes, Modi’s other allies are restive, while opposition parties have begun to form alliances in an attempt to check his influence.

Following the withdrawal of support by BJP, Mufti tendered her resignation as chief minister and the state’s administration was brought under federal rule.

India has been fighting rebels in Jammu and Kashmir for close to three decades. Control over Kashmir, the Himalayan territory divided between India and Pakistan, poses one of the biggest hurdles to improve relations between the neighbors.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.