Advani: No devolution of power to the states
7 July 2000
Bombay: Union home minister L.K. Advani has ruled out devolution of power to the states at the cost of territorial integrity. ''Devolution of power (for the states) and national integration must go hand in hand,'' Mr Advani told reporters during his day-long visit to Mumbai on Thursday. Mr Advani, who was in Mumbai, to address a public meeting organised by Mumbai Bharatiya Janata Party unit to mark the 100th birth anniversary of Shyama Prasad Mukherji, said that while discussing the autonomy issue resolution, the emphasis of the Atal Behari Vajpayee government was on what the people of Jammu and Kashmir want. ''The people of Jammu and Kashmir are fed up with the Pak-sponsored cross-border terrorism. They want peace and security. They want development works to go on and they want tourism, their main source of livelihood, to be revived,'' he added. Referring to the autonomy resolution passed by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in June, which was rejected by the Union Cabinet, the home minister, said the ''clock cannot be put back to the pre-1953'' situation and the 42 Presidential orders will not be withdrawn. Mr Advani added, ''We will never deny the people of Jammu and Kashmir their right as Indian citizens.'' He reiterated that the BJP was committed to its election promise of 1998 and 1999 that the Central government should give some of the many powers it has to the states. ''There is a clear case for devolution of greater financial and administrative powers for the states,'' he said and added that the BJP-led government in the Centre had already decided that the states should get a 29 per cent share in the revenue earned. ''We want to go ahead in this direction.'' Soon after his arrival in Mumbai, Mr Advani had a meeting with Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray who had criticised Prime Minister Vajpayee for giving ''a kid-glove treatment'' to Mr Farooq Abdullah. Emerging out of the hour-long meeting in a five-star hotel suite, Mr Thackeray was a new man, full of praise for the Vajpayee government. ''I have told him (Mr Advani) that I welcome the Central Cabinet''s rejection of autonomy resolution and that it was in national interest,'' Mr Thackeray said. ''I presented Mr Advani with a huge bouquet of flowers to express my appreciation. You want to see it?'' he asked the media gathered to get his reaction. Asked about his demand for the expulsion of the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and his arrest, the Sena chief said: ''Rejection (of the autonomy resolution) was the main thing. The chapter is closed now.''