No Objection To Article 370 If It Helps Jammu And Kashmir Grow: BJP

No Objection To Article 370 If It Helps Jammu And Kashmir Grow: BJP

18 January 2014
The New Indian Express


New Delhi: Reflecting a change in stance, BJP president Rajnath Singh on Saturday said his party has no objection to Article 370 which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir if it helps in the development of the state. “Jammu and Kashmir is a very serious, very sensitive region for us... If J&K develops because of Article 370, then we have no objection in keeping it,” he said in his inaugural address at the two-day National Executive meet of the party. This marks a change in the BJP’s stand as it has been consistently demanding repeal of the Article 370 and has aggressively campaigned for it. However, in a bid not to appear as giving up the issue, Rajnath went on to add that if the Article 370 was a ‘conspiracy’ to stop the state from joining Indian mainstream, then his party would not accept it under any circumstances. The party’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had earlier stated at a rally in Jammu that there should be at least a debate on whether or not Article 370 has benefited the state. “As per the Constitution, the debate will continue whether the Article 370 should end or continue – at least there should be debate whether Article 370 has benefited Jammu and Kashmir or not,” the Gujarat Chief Minister had said at the rally on December one. The BJP had then rejected suggestions that Modi had softened the party’s stand on the issue. “It would be incorrect for anyone to interpret the BJP’s challenge for a debate on this issue as a softening of stand on Article 370,” Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley had said. The BJP has long kept its demand of Article 370’s abrogation on the back burner in its quest for allies, who have been wary of its hardline stand, and the elevation of Modi had fuelled concerns that the BJP would revert to its original demand under his command. ‘Congress Propaganda’ Meanwhile the BJP leadership stung by the Congress’ attack on Narendra Modi hit back saying the ‘helpless’ Congress was using false propaganda to discredit Modi even as it engages in Muslim appeasement for votes. Claiming that the Congress has launched a tirade against Modi on the basis of ‘lies and misinformation’, the BJP chief referred to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent remark that Narendra Modi becoming Prime Minister would be ‘disastrous’ for the country.