Amit Shah sticks to Art 370 stand after Ram Madhav says all parties to decide

Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah said on Sunday his party will scrap Article 370 that provides special status to Jammu and Kashmir if it retains power in this summer’s Lok Sabha elections, a remark that came a day after his party colleague Ram Madhav said “the issue will be decided by Parliament”.

In its election manifesto, the BJP has promised to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and annul Article 35A. While Article 370 grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Article 35A provides special rights and privileges to permanent residents of the state.

While speaking to the media ahead of the second phase of voting in the state’s Anantnag constituency, BJP general secretary incharge of Jammu and Kashmir Madhav said: “This issue will be decided by Parliament. All parties will decide this issue. We are fighting the election in the state on the agenda of development; so let us right now focus on this”.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC) accused the BJP of doublespeak after Madhav made the remark on Saturday. PDP spokesperson Rafi Mir said Madhav could have been compelled to “tone down” his party’s stand in Kashmir owing to the local sentiments amid the general elections.

The NC’s provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani said: “They are doing this dual talk for votes here. Not only Madhav but their local candidate Sofi Yousuf is also trying to hoodwink people by saying nobody can touch Article 370. But the reality is that they want to damage the special status, as they have been clear in their manifesto.”

The remarks came after PDP chief and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said if Prime Minister Narendra Modi was opposed to Article 370 and if it was “so bad, then leave the state”.

At an election rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki on Sunday, BJP chief Shah said that if PM Modi was given another chance to serve the country, the BJP government would scrap Article 370. He accused opposition parties of “soft-pedalling the terror issue”.

“We are very clear that as soon as our government is formed at the Centre, we would identify and drive the infiltrators out wherever they are, in Assam or out of it, and additionally ensure that Article 370 is scrapped in J&K,” Shah said.

Several BJP leaders, including PM Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh, have spoken against Article 370 and Article 35A at election rallies for the Lok Sabha polls.

First Published:
Apr 29, 2019 00:43 IST

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