india

Article 370 not diluted in haste: Venkaiah Naidu

Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill was adopted after a detailed debate, giving opportunity to all parties: V-P

Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said the dilution of Article 370 of the Constitution, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was not done in haste.

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill was adopted after a detailed debate, giving opportunity to all parties. “It was a historic moment in my life,” the Rajya Sabha Chairman said while taking part in the 20th anniversary celebrations of Swarna Bharat Trust, a social service organisation, along with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who had piloted the Bill in the Upper House.

Speaking further on the repeal of the constitutional provision, he said: “It was my life’s ambition and mission since my student days as Kashmir is an integral part of India.” Countrymen were now rejoicing over the repeal, he said. This was achieved thanks to the determination of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Shah, who ensured that the Bill was passed smoothly, he said.

A day before the passage, the Prime Minister had wanted the Bill to be taken up first in the Rajya Sabha though he [Mr. Naidu] had suggested that it could be taken up in the Lok Sabha where the BJP had a two-thirds majority, Mr. Naidu recalled. While he was worried about the passage of the Bill, his family members were worried about his health, Mr. Naidu said. But his cardiologist, Balram Bhargava (Indian Council of Medical Research Director-General), allayed their fears saying that he would be in the gallery and would take care.

Though people wanted Article 370 to go, their wish had not been fulfilled for various reasons, he added.

Describing the Rajya Sabha Chairman as a “model custodian of the Constitution’’, Mr. Shah recalled how Mr. Naidu used to argue for taking out the provision from the statute book. God had given Mr. Naidu the opportunity to chair the historic session.

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