NEW DELHI/KASHMIR: Kashmir found a special mention in the BJP manifesto on Monday just as it did in the Congress manifesto. However, promises made by both parties in the context of Kashmir are very different from each other.
While the BJP promised abrogation of Article 370 and annulment of Article 35A of the Constitution, Congress has said there will be no tampering with Article 370 which grants special autonomy to J&K.
BJP’s announcement evoked sharp reactions from mainstream camp in the militancy-hit state with National Conference president Farooq Abdullah declaring that abrogation of Article 370 would pave way for freedom of Kashmiris and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti warning BJP to “not play with fire”.
After releasing the manifesto, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reiterated BJP’s intention to abolish the provisions which give special status and rights to Jammu & Kashmir and its residents.
Addressing a BJP rally in Suchetgarh, he asserted there will be no option with the government other than abolishing Articles 370 and if there is a demand for a separate PM in the state.
Singh was referring to a remark made by National Conference leader Omar Abdullah who, a week ago said his party will strive for restoring the autonomy of J&K that could include having a ‘Sadar-e-Riyasat’ (President) and ‘Wazir-e-Azam’ (Prime Minister).
Reacting to the BJP manifesto, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah asked the BJP to try joining the hearts and not breaking them. The State Congress chief also said Article 370 was “irrevocable”.
Addressing workers in Srinagar’s Munawarabad, Abdullah said, “Do they think that if they abrogate Article 370, we will be quiet? They are wrong. We will fight against it. If centre removes Article 370, then J&K’s Accession with India will be over. I think its Allah’s will that they are trying to abrogate it. If they do remove it , we will get Azadi (freedom) from them.”
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti too reacted strongly on Twitter saying, “Why waste time in court. Wait for BJP to scrap Article 370. It will automatically debar us from fighting elections since the Indian constitution won’t be applicable to J&K anymore. Na samjhoge toh mit jaoge aye Hindustan walo. Tumhari dastaan tak bhi na hogi dastaano main.”
Other important aspects:
“We reiterate our stand on Ram Mandir. We will explore all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution and all necessary efforts to facilitate the expeditious construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.”
Uniform Civil Code
“Article 44 of the Constitution lists the Uniform Civil Code as one of the Directive Principles of State Policy. BJP believes that there cannot be gender equality till such time India adopts a Uniform Civil Code, which protects the rights of all women, and the BJP reiterates its stand to draft a Uniform Civil Code...”
“We will undertake every effort to ensure that the subject of faith, tradition and worship rituals related to Sabarimala are presented in a comprehensive manner before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. We will endeavour to secure constitutional protection on issues related to faith and belief.”