BJP defends Modi on Article 370 debate, rejects opposition’s objections

Posted on Dec 2 2013 - 3:06pm by IBC News

New Delhi, Dec.2 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday defended its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s demand for a public debate on Article 370, which provides subsidised benefits and a special status to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and rejected opposition claims that Modi is stirring another controversy to gain ground for the BJP ahead of next year’s general elections.
Former BJP president Nitin Gadkari maintained that Article 370 has come in the way of Kashmir’s development and demanded its abrogation.
“Article 370 is a hindrance to the development of Jammu and Kashmir. It must be abrogated. It is because of Article 370, that there is no development in Jammu and Kashmir,” said Gadkari.
“Sheikh Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah have ruled Jammu and Kashmir for many years. The result has been backwardness and no development. There are no good hotels, IT companies, or educational universities in Kashmir. How will the youth of Kashmir get employment opportunities there? The development of Kashmir is only possible if people are allowed to invest there,” Gadkari added.
“What Narendrabhai said in Jammu about women’s rights is within the ambit of the Indian Constitution. Women in Jammu and Kashmir must get equal rights. Whatever is happening in Jammu and Kashmir is against the Constitution. Women are being discriminated against,” Gadkari further said.
People’s Democratic Party chief Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, however, said Modi’s call for a debate on Article 370 shows that he needs to upgrade his constitutional knowledge.
He warned that Modi’s statements has the potential of creating fissures within the state.
Sayeed said even Parliament is not constitutionally mandated to review or scrap Article 370.
“Even the ordinary students of constitutional history know that Article 370 providing special status to Jammu and Kashmir has gained a permanent status after the Constitutional Assembly of the state approved it,” Mufti said in a statement issued in Jammu on Sunday.
“Even the Article 1 of the Constitution of India, determining the territory of the country, applies to Jammu and Kashmir by virtue of Article 370 only,” he added.
BJP spokesman Captain Abhimanyu Singh said his party believes that the abrogation of Article 370 will bring Jammu and Kashmir back into the mainstream and will help the people there.
National Conference leader Sheikh Mustafa Kamal claimed that Article 370 has been tampered with by all leaders in Delhi, whether in power or outside power, including Modi.
Reacting through his Twitter handle, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah contested the criticism levelled against him and his government by Modi during his rally in Jammu on Sunday.
Omar said “I challenge him or any of his minions to reproduce verbatim the section of Art 370 that determines the Jammu and Kashmir state subject law.”
Modi said under Article 370 Omar’s sister who is married to Sachin Pilot did not enjoy the same rights in the state as Omar did. To this, Omar replied: “He very conveniently used me and my sister as examples to illustrate a point that has no bearing in truth. Either he lies or is ill-informed.”
BJP vice president and spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: “Article 370 is an obstacle to the development of Kashmir. We have always said the reason for Kashmir being away from mainstream development is Article 370.”
Janata Dal-United leader K.C. Tyagi said: ” The BJP and Mr. Modi are in the habit of raising controversial issues. This statement of Modi vindicates the decision of the JD-U to separate from the BJP and the NDA. Going to Jammu and opposing Article 370, isn’t this communalizing politics there?
BJP spokesman Siddarth Nath Singh said: “Modiji, in his rally, has raised a very valid question-whether the people of Jammu and Kashmir have benefited from Article 370 or not. There should be a debate on that.”
“He meant that the people of Jammu and Kashmir should be given equal benefits as the people of Madhya Pradesh, Kanyakumari or any other part of the nation. I don’t think the BJP has made a wrong statement. This is democracy and India gets strengthened by this kind of debate. I don’t know what kind of prism is used by the Congress that looks at every issue with a communal angle.”
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said: “Neither Kashmir’s nor India’s development has been restricted by Article 370. I don’t have any problem with a debate. They (BJP) want a debate, might as well have it in the BJP. Modiji should also look at Article 371. (ANI)

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