NEW DELHI / SRI NAGAR: The controversy that erupted on the first day of NDA government over Article 370 escalated on Wednesday as BJP’s ideological mentor RSS favoured debate on the contentious issue. RSS leader Ram Madhav hit out at Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah saying the State was not his personal fiefdom and will always remain an “integral” part of India.
“J&K won’t be part of India? Is Omar thinking it’s his parental estate? 370 or no 370 J&K has been n will always be an integral part of India,” Madhav tweeted reacting to Abdullah, who said either Kashmir would not be part of India or Article 370 would still exist.
The controversy had erupted after Jitendra Singh, new Minister of State in the PMO, said there should be debate on Article 370, which grants special status to the hilly State, since it has not benefitted anyone.
A doctor by profession, Jitendra Singh, who had won the Lok Sabha elections from Udhampur in Jammu, had later issued a clarification on Tuesday saying he was misquoted. But by then debate had started.
Reacting to Jitendra Singh’s statement Omar said, “...long after Modi Govt is a distant memory either J&K won’t be part of India or Art 370 will still exist. Art 370 is the only constitutional link between J&K and rest of India. Talk of revocation is not just ill informed it’s irresponsible.”
On this, Madhav added Omar was trying to make a “mountain out of a molehill”. “There should be no unnecessary controversy over his (Dr Jitendra Singh’s) remark. The minister had merely stated the party line. He called for a debate on the usefulness or otherwise of Article 370, attempts to create a political controversy are uncalled for,” Madhav said.
In J&K, Jitendra’s statement triggered a political storm with mainstream political parties closing ranks on the issue.