Amid ‘bonhomie’ PDP, BJP return to rhetoric on Art 370, AFSPA
JAMMU: In the middle of pretended convergence in the matters of governance despite ideological divergence, the ruling PDP-BJP have returned to eye-ball to eye-ball situation on the contentious issues of scrapping Article 370 and revoking Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Jammu and Kashmir.
The ruling coalition partners have been playing hide and seek over various issues from day one. No sooner the Jammu unit of BJP pitched for an additional All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Jammu, with one already sanctioned for the Valley, the PDP responded in equal terms by seeking IIT and IIM for Kashmir. These two coveted academic institutions have been approved for Jammu.
In the backdrop of blow hot blow cold relationship, PDP has sought revocation of AFSPA, saying there is “tangible improvement” in the security situation and people need to feel the change on the ground. The demand comes close on a spirited case made out by the BJP for abrogating and debating Article 370. Soon after the party’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra described abrogation of this provision as core of the party ideology, RSS leader Indresh Kumar today called for an open debate on Article 370. He told a news agency at Nagpur, “I have asked the people who support the article to give me a list on how India and Jammu and Kashmir have benefited from this? But we don’t hear anyone listing the benefits, only the limitations are being enumerated. I think it is important to have an open debate on Article 370.”
In Srinagar PDP Chief Spokesperson Mehboob Beg said in a statement, “The tangible improvement in security situation in Jammu and Kashmir needs to be reciprocated with matching measures like revocation of the controversial AFSPA so that people feel the real change on the ground.”
The “legitimate aspirations” voiced by the people of the State through democratic means have to be respected to address the issues of trust-deficit and alienation, Beg said.
“This is of fundamental importance to allow the democratic institutions in the State to grow and flourish without having the feeling of being in the protective custody,” he said.
While PDP has not reacted to renewed reiteration on revocation of Article 370 by BJP and RSS, Congress and National Conference have assailed the saffron outfits for ‘raking up’ the issue to ‘hoodwink public opinion’.
“I reject his statement as it deserves the same. Messers Sanjay Patras and other habitually talkative members of the RSS -BJP combine must accept the fact decisively that Article 370 happens to be an essential element of the basic structure of the Constitution of India and no person on earth can amend or abrogate it, except through the free will of the people of Jammu and Kashmir State,” former Pradesh Congress President Saif-ud-Din Soz said in a statement. National Conference has reiterated the offer of debate on this issue, saying Article 370 cannot be abrogated at all.