A day before the polls in Kashmir, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that it was Atal Bihari Vajpayee who rejected the autonomy plank of National Conference.
Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, the BJP candidate from Udhampur, Jitender Singh, said that his party stands on the “same ground” as the former prime minister.
"It was Vajpayee who threw the resolution of autonomy. He didn't jump out of the Indian constitution and we stand on the same ground," he said.
Singh said if BJP comes to power, they will follow the same ‘path’.
Both PDP and NC are trying to use Atal Bihari Vajpayee's work on “Kashmir issue'”.
While PDP is using Vajpayee as a poll plank to target UPA, saying his government worked towards resolution of the Kashmir issue more than the UPA government, NC has been saying that the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is ‘no Vajpayee’.
In a recent rally, state chief minister Omar Abdullah, who is also working president of NC, said he had worked with Vajpayee for three years and there was nothing of Vajpayee in Modi.
In a last minute plea to voters to give the party a chance for “development”, Singh said BJP was committed to take up the role of a viable mainstream opposition party in Kashmir.
“BJP is ready to offer its services of a watchdog and serve people by listening to their grievances. They must not get influenced by developing a bias on what the opposition parties say," Singh said in a press conference on Wednesday.
He said BJP would work to give people good governance, corruption free system and development.
Responding to whether the party would engage the separatists, Singh said the party was ready to hold “talks with any group and citizens of this country as long as it didn't affect India's integrity”.
He said talks with Pakistan could only happen if both the sides come on an equal platform, not putting India on a weaker position.
"Till the mischief from their (Pakistan) side stops, you cannot come in position of holding talks," Singh added.
“One cannot shake hand with clenched fists. Whenever they enter in talks, they bring in Hira Nagar and Kargil,” he said.
Reiterating Modi's stand on article 370 he said, “Article 370 was not benefiting the common Kashmiri but NC was using it to misguide people. We initiated a debate on this to inform people that it is harmful to them. We can convince you through a debate,” he said.
He also said that they were aware of the propaganda where Modi was presented to be a “devil” and “murderer’ by various political parties but his work in Gujarat was an evidence of a perfect developmental model.
Singh said the minority community of Muslims as well as Sikhs was having a better standard of life in Gujarat and states which are under the BJP governance.