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Autonomy? Never: BJP

delhi Updated: Sep 16, 2010 01:24 IST
Vikas Pathak
Vikas Pathak
Hindustan Times
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The BJP may have tried to leave its core Hindutva issues and project a moderate, development-oriented face — often with little perceptible success — in recent times, but two of its original issues have converged at the moment.

The unfolding Kashmir crisis has coincided with the impending Ayodhya judgment. The party's three original issues were abrogation of Article 370, a Ram temple at Ayodhya and the Uniform Civil Code.

On Kashmir, a "national" issue, the party is openly taking a hard line, while on Ayodhya, its tone is subdued.

But there is unmistakable activity.

BJP president Nitin Gadkari and leaders L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley were articulating a hard line on Kashmir at the all-party meet on Wednesday. Gadkari led the charge in the meet. His main points: autonomy for Kashmir is unacceptable; the armed forces, who have guarded the nation's security must not be demoralised; the present disturbances are being aided by elements in Pakistan and that Jammu and Ladakh (significantly, both are "non-Muslim") be taken on board while taking any decision.

BJP spokesperson Tarun Vijay told agencies most councillors of the Ladakh Union Territory Council would join the BJP, giving the party a foothold there.

On Ayodhya, BJP leaders are unsure whether the issue is an emotive one any longer. But BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and Rajnath Singh and VHP leaders Praveen Togadia and Ashok Singhal met the RSS national brass here for deliberations on the issue. "There was agreement that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's line be upheld," said an RSS functionary.

The party will lead Jan Panchayats on "price rise" just before the verdict, and Advani will visit Somnath — where he began his 1990 Rath Yatra — a day after it. "Let's see whether a favourable or an adverse judgment will be better for us; both can stir Hindutva sentiment, which otherwise seems dead," said a BJP leader.

The RSS brass is closeted in the Capital for three days to discuss Ayodhya and Kashmir.