On Amit Shah’s big J&K move, ally Nitish and rival Mayawati spring a surprise
As the NDA government moved four proposals in Parliament that redefine the status of Jammu and Kashmir, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party sprung a surprise when her party unequivocally told Home Minister Amit Shah that the BSP would not oppose the Centre’s resolutions and legislative proposals that change the J&K’s relations with the central government.
“Our party supports the proposal on J&K bill on reservation… We do not oppose the other proposals,” Satish Chandra Misra told the Rajya Sabha. He was the first opposition leader to speak after Amit Shah stunned Parliament with four proposals to split Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories and revoke Article 370.
Misra later explained the party’s surprise stance, pointing that Mayawati decided to support the move because it would allow minorities and Dalits from other parts of the country to buy land in Jammu and Kashmir.
Watch : Home Minister Amit Shah moves resolution on Article 370
Article 370 of the Constitution had given Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making rights for all matters except for defence, communications and foreign affairs. The law also forbids Indians outside the state from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs and securing education scholarships. These restrictions would go.
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Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal, which spoke after the BJP’s Bhupender Yadav complimented Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the historic move, also supported the bills and resolutions on Kashmir.
“I support this resolution. My party BJD supports this resolution,” BJD lawmaker Prasanna Acharya told the Rajya Sabha, underscoring that he may be from a regional party of Odisha, “but the nation is first”.
He said Article 370 of the Constitution impeded its integration with the county. “We always say Jammu and Kashmir is integral part of India. But was it really integral part of India,” Acharya said, adding that the government should look at integrating Pakistan-occupied Kashmir next.
BJP ally Janata Dal United-led by Nitish Kumar, however, struck a discordant note, saying the party’s stand on contentious issues has been that the government should look at building consensus rather than get it passed. “We boycott the bill,” JDU leader KC Tyagi said in parliament.
Home Minister Amit Shah announced the revocation of Article 370 amid an uproar in Parliament while Kashmir is under a security lockdown keeping thousands of people inside their homes and unable to communicate with the outside world.
The four resolutions and bills came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi convened a cabinet meeting and the government’s top-decision making body on security matters, the Cabinet Committee on Security which he heads.