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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Useless to have debate on Art 370: Azad

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Jammu, December 07, 2013
First Published: 22:32 IST(7/12/2013) | Last Updated: 22:35 IST(7/12/2013)

Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, apparently taking a dig at chief minister Omar Abdullah, on Saturday said some people had started issuing statements after a leader called for a debate on Article 370.

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"A leader who had come to Jammu for the first time and has not even visited Kashmir, makes a statement. Immediately some leaders start issuing counter-statements and join the debate. There is no need for it," said Azad, without naming BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narender Modi or Omar Abdullah, in his address at a function held in Kathua.

The function organised by MP Lal Singh is held annually to pay homage to martyrs to commemorate the sacrifices made by them while serving in police, army and paramilitary forces.

Addressing a rally in Jammu on December 1, Modi had said that there should at least be a debate on whether Article 370, which gives a special constitutional status to the state, had really benefited people.

Chief minister Omar Abdullah countered the statement and challenged Modi for a debate. "If they want a debate, let them tell me where and when they want to have it. Even if they want to hold a debate in Ahmedabad, we are ready for it," Omar had said in Srinagar on December 5.

Even the People's Democratic Party, in a statement issued after Modi's rally, had said that the BJP's prime ministerial candidate didn't have full knowledge about Article 370. Pradesh Congress Committee president Saif-ud-din Soz had also spoken on these lines.

Azad said abrogation of Article 370 was on the agenda of the BJP and they kept talking about it and there was nothing new in it.

"J&K is an integral part of the country and the world knows about it. So there is no need for debate on Article 370," said Azad. He said people should rather concentrate on development and work than focusing on an individual. "If you want to politically finish a person, start talking about him," said Azad.

The former chief minister said he had worked here and knew the state better than anyone else.
Without naming Modi, Azad said the leader was making factually incorrect statements wherever he was going.

"There is no need to answer such a leader. It's useless. We know what the people of the country want and are working on it," said Azad.

Meanwhile, Azad said he would not contest from the Udhampur-Doda parliamentary seat and the party would give mandate to sitting MP Lal Singh.

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