At Narendra Modi’s Jammu rally, BJP dilutes stand on Article 370

9:47 AM, Monday, December 2nd, 2013
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jammuJammu : The BJP on Sunday appeared to soften its stand on Article 370 of the Constitution that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, with Narendra Modi saying there should be at least a debate on whether or not it has benefited the state.

Addressing massive rally in Jammu, his first in the state after being named the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Mr Modi said, “As per Constitution, the debate will go on whether Article 370 will end or continue — at least there should be debate whether Article 370 has benefitted J&K or not.”
Speaking before Mr Modi, BJP president Rajnath Singh, said if Article 370 had proved to be beneficial for the state, his party would stand by the measure.

This marks a departure from the BJP’s longstanding position seeking complete abrogation of the provision.

Mr Modi did point out that former Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru of the Congress had said that Article 370 would go with time. “Will the Congress go with the Nehru’s statement — I want to question the PM?” the Gujarat Chef Minister said, adding, “Article 370 has been used as a shield in Jammu and Kashmir for resorting to communalism — experts of the Constitution should debate it.”

Mr Modi also controversially talked about the Abdullah family that heads the ruling National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir to allege that women have not been given equal rights in the state unlike in other parts of the country.

“If Omar (Abdullah) married outside Kashmir, his rights of being a citizen remain whereas his sister Sara loses the right for the same. Is this not discrimination against the women in the state?” he asked.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took umbrage. He tweeted, “He (Modi) very conveniently used me & my sister as examples to illustrate a point that has NO bearing in truth. Either he lies or is ill informed.”

The Chief Minister also said on Twitter that, “women DO NOT lose their domicile right by marrying non state subjects regardless of the propaganda surrounding this issue.”

The Congress too has slammed Mr Modi. Union Minister Mansih Tiwari said, “This shows the arrogance and ignorance of the BJP…They have not read the constitution of India…By bringing up this topic, the BJP seeks to weaken India.

Mr Modi said the BJP’s plans for J&K would be based on former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s principles of “Insaniyat (humanity), Jamhuriyat (democracy) and Kashmiriyat


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