Party will scrap special status for J&K only if it wins on its own

BJP leader Nitin Gadkari on Saturday reiterated that the demand for abrogation of Article 370 was on the party’s agenda but not on the National Democratic Alliance’s programme.

Talking to reporters, Mr. Gadkari said only if the BJP came to power on its own strength, would it take a decision on Article 370 which accords special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Contending that the Constitutional provision was an obstruction in the growth of industry and tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, he said the State would prosper only after its abrogation.

Mr. Gadkari said once Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister, Jammu and Kashmir would prosper and the thrust would be to eradicate poverty and provide employment .

He denied that Mr. Modi had sent two emissaries to Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani to discuss a possible meeting with him. Referring to the claims of Mr. Geelani that two emissaries had approached him when he was in Delhi on March 22, Mr. Gadkari said Mr. Geelani had not named the persons who had approached him.

Asked why the BJP was raising Mr. Modi’s caste when the party was against casteism, Mr. Gadkari said casteism was in the DNA of Bihar and that was the reason caste was talked about in Bihar. He later said casteism was in the political DNA of the state.

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