Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a debate on the future of Article 370 of the Constitution, made at a rally in Jammu on Sunday, has sparked a snowballing controversy over the Bharatiya Janata Party’s position on Jammu and Kashmir.
People’s Democratic Party leader and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said Article 370 had “gained a permanent status after the Constitutional Assembly of the State approved it.” The Congress’ Saifuddin Soz said “Article 370 is not revocable because it is of permanent nature in the Constitution of India.”
Article 370 places limits on the power of Parliament to make laws for Jammu and Kashmir. Similar provisions exist in other States and regions.
The BJP had long demanded abrogation of Article 370. In a 20-year Vision Document released in 2004, though, the BJP made no mention of the issue. Instead, it spoke of a “balanced development of all the three regions of the State — Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh — without any discrimination against any section of the State’s population.”
Party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman, though, denied there was any dissonance between Mr. Modi’s call and the BJP’s position.