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Row breaks out over or Indian People's Party leader Modi’s art 370 take
Publication Date : 03-12-2013
India’s second largest party Bharatiya Janata Party, or Indian People's Party, BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's pitch for a debate on Article 370 of the Constitution.
The article grants special status for Jammu & Kashmir, sparked a row, with Modi drawing flak from a slew of political parties, including the Congress, Left and J&K parties, for his alleged bid to rake up a sensitive and divisive issue in the run-up to the 2014 general elections.
The BJP rejected the perception that Modi’s call for a debate on Article 370 has “softened” its consistent stand that this constitutional provision must be abrogated, even as the Congress, Left and J&K parties virtually rejected the question of having any review of Article 370.
The Gujarat chief minister’s other statement at his party’s Jammu rally yesterday that J&K women have been facing gender discrimination as they lose their rights of inheritance in the event of marrying outside the state also triggered rebuttal by the ruling J&K party, National Conference, as well as the principal Opposition, PDP.
This was the first time since he was nominated as the BJP’s PM candidate that Modi touched upon one of his party’s three most contentious issues, with the other two being the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya and the imposition of a Uniform Civil Code across the country.
Amid the growing perception that Modi's call for having “at least a debate” on Article 370 to ascertain whether it has benefited J&K or not amounted to his party’s “climbdown” of sorts on this issue, senior BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, scotched such interpretations, calling them incorrect.
Swaraj said, “It is wrong to say that the BJP has gone soft on Article 370. Modi has just asked if there has been any benefit from 370.” She said Modi has rhetorically asked whether there has been any benefit from Article 370 to J&K, adding that a call for such a debate could not be called a softening in the BJP’s position on the matter.
Significantly, a day after Modi also faced criticism from some quarters for ignoring the cause of Kashmiri Pandits in his speech, he today sought to highlight this issue as well, saying no one can ignore their sufferings.
“We need rational & focused debate not only on 370 but other issues relating to J&K...” Modi tweeted. Modi also took credit for starting a renewed debate on Article 370, saying, “Glad that after my call.