A day after BJP prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi pitched for a debate on Article 370 that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the party's leaders said it would be wrong to interpret it as a dilution of stand on the issue.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in favour of scrapping Article 370, which, among other things, allows the border state a separate constitution.
Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said, “It is wrong to say the BJP has gone soft on Article 370. Modi has just asked if there has been any gain from this provision.”
Another top leader Arun Jaitley said, “J&K's integration with India is an essential part of the ideology of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh and now the BJP.
“The BJP believes in Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee's (Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder) vision of J&K's integration with India. The Nehruvian vision of a separate status has given rise to aspirations for the pre-1953 status, self-rule and even Azadi.”
In a Facebook post, Jaitley held that “the journey of a separate status has been towards separatism and not towards integration”.
Jaitley, the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, also backed Modi's assertion that women in Jammu and Kashmir did not enjoy the same rights as men.
"Can J&K CM Omar Abdullah ignore a dubious track record of his party on the issue and indulge in discourteous tweets on the subjects?"
Jaitley said Jammu and Kashmir high court had in October 2002 re-interpreted a law in the state and by a majority judgment held that a woman marrying outside the state would not lose her status as a permanent resident.
“But the NC (National Conference) government's advocate general, MA Goni, opposed the plea of women. The NC government moved the Supreme Court against the judgment.
"The PDP (People's Democratic Party) government, supported by the NC, passed the Jammu and Kashmir Resident (Disqualification) Bill 2004, which attempted to statutorily nullify the progressive majority view taken by the high court."
Jaitley said when Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the then prime minister, suggested a solution should be found to this problem, the PDP and the NC linked it to the upholding the special status of the state guaranteed under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
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