In his latest blog posting, Bharatiya Janata Party leader LK Advani on Friday said even the Congress party -- other than Jawaharlal Nehru and a few other leaders -- was strongly opposed to giving a special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
File photo: Senior BJP leader LK Advani during the last public meeting of his Jan Chetna Yatra at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi. (Sanjeev Verma/HT)
Advani quotes from a biography of Sardar Patel to argue that even he was against Article 370 but kept his views in the background out of his regard for Nehru.
"Omar Abdullah, chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir state, has every right to disagree with the BJP on matters relating to J&K. But I would advise him never to use offensive language and words like 'cheating' and 'deceiving' in that context," Advani wrote in his blog.
Advani had recently said Article 370 should be revoked. Abdullah had responded to this without naming Advani and slammed him for raising the "false boggy of revocation" of the provision.
Holding that it is "highly improper" for anyone to use offensive words like "cheating" in the context of BJP's stand on J-K, Advani said his party has "not only been unequivocal, forthright and consistent from the time Jana Sangh (BJP's predecessor) was born in 1951 till today, but it is an issue for which the Party's Founder - President laid down his own life".
Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, who founded the Jana Sangh was arrested in Jammu and Kashmir in 1952 when he tried to enter the state without a permit which was required then to go to there.
He died - allegedly under mysterious circumstances - during his incarceration.
"Since our very first all India session at Kanpur, we have been championing complete integration of J&K State with India," Advani said.
Advani said Abdulalh should be aware that the Jana Sangh was not even formed when the special status was given to J&K.
"However, if there was any provision in the Draft Constitution which had almost the entire Congress Party up in arms against it, it was this provision."
"This issue was considered by the Constituent Assembly in November, 1949 just two months before the Constitution was formally adopted," he said. Congress and Abdullah's National Conference are allies in the state and at the Centre.
Quoting extensively from a book My Reminiscences of Sardar Patel, written by V Shankar, private secretary of Sardar Patel, Advani said Nehru had finalised the draft of the provision in consultation with Sheikh Abdullah, Omar's grandfather, before going on a foreign visit.
He left it to fellow Congress leader Gopalaswamy Ayyangar to defend it before the Congress Parliamentary Party.
Though Sardar Patel was against this idea, he went ahead.
However, due to stiff opposition from Congress members - who shouted down even Maulana Azad on the issue- Patel said due to "international complications" only a provisional approach could be made.